Former India cricketer Irfan Pathan hailed Rohit Sharma for marshalling his troops well despite missing some of the key players.
Rohit also received plaudits for the way he lead his team in IPL 2023 because no one really counted the five-time champions as favourites in the competition after a shaky start. Akash Madhwal’s sizzling maiden five-wicket haul (5/5), a collection of impactful batting cameos coupled with an electric fielding performance helped Mumbai Indians beat Lucknow Super Giants by 81 runs in the Eliminator and cruise into Qualifier 2 of the IPL 2023.
Impactful attacking cameos from Cameron Green (41 off 23), Suryakumar Yadav (33 off 20), Tilak Varma (26 off 22) and Impact Player Nehal Wadhera (23 off 12) propelled Mumbai Indians to a competitive 182/8.
Akash Madhwal then took the centre stage on the big stage with a lethal spell of 5/5 to rip through LSG’s batting order as the Krunal Pandya-led side succumbed under pressure to get bowled out for 101 which included three run-outs.
Speaking on Star Sports’ Cricket Live, Irfan Pathan said, “Rohit Sharma has delivered once again for Mumbai Indians. He was faced with a crisis at the start of the competition when key pacer Jasprit Bumrah was out. Jofra Archer struggled with his form and fitness but this captain marshalled his troops well. He first guided MI to the eliminator and then took his team to the Qualifiers with his astute captaincy.”
The stage is set for the much-awaited Qualifier 2 in the IPL 2023 after Mumbai Indians booked the seat with their comprehensive win over Lucknow Super Giants in Eliminator.
The five-time IPL champions will lock horns with the defending champions in the penultimate match of this season. Both teams who are lined up with potential match-winners will be raring to win and set up the summit clash with Chennai Super Kings on Sunday (May 26).
Former India cricketer Harbhajan Singh claimed Mumbai Indians are such a force in this tournament because of a captain like Rohit, who is very approachable as a skipper.
“Rohit Sharma is a very chilled-out captain. He is a very approachable captain even for the youngsters. He never carries that ego and youngsters can reach out to him anytime. He loves spending time with uncapped players. He’s someone who hasn’t taken success to his head, he’s very humble and shows a lot of respect to the senior players. This humility makes Rohit a great player,” Harbhajan Singh said.
Gujarat Titans lost to Chennai Super Kings in the first Qualifier but they will be arriving at their stronghold in Ahmedabad for the second Qualifier. Harbhajan Singh believes the presence of senior India pacer Mohammed Shami makes GT tough opponent for even a team like MI.
“Mohd Shami is a bowler every team looks to have. He’s a good new-ball bowler. He nails quick Yorkers in the death overs. He has a brilliant seam position and becomes an unplayable bowler when there’s swing,” Harbhajan added.
Harbhajan Singh also hailed star Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan for his all-round performance in the IPL 2023.
“Rashid Khan is a player from a different league. He’s picking up wickets in heaps, he’s scoring runs, he’s a gun fielder, and he lead GT whenever captain Hardik wasn’t available. He’s done everything and excelled. GT are exceptionally lucky to have a player like Rashid in their ranks.”
Former Australia cricketer Aaron Finch also lauded ‘world-class’ bowler Rashid Khan and captain Hardik Pandya for utilising his resources beautifully.
“GT are a strong team to beat because they have a world-class bowler in Rashid Khan. They have a good captain in Hardik Pandya, who’s shown a lot of maturity. Thirdly, their fast bowling attack is also balanced,” Aaron Finch said.