Mumbai Indians' IPL campaign in 2023 came to an end with a 62-run defeat against Gujarat Titans in the second Qualifier in Ahmedabad. Their captain Rohit Sharma said that their batting and especially the performance of some of the younger players was the biggest positive for them from this season.
Mumbai adopted an ultra-aggressive approach to compensate for the loss of several of their first-choice bowlers to injury, including Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer. It saw them post totals of more than 200 six times this season, the most by any team in one edition of the IPL.
"I mean playing this game, qualifying as third in the tournament, you know, it gives us a lot of confidence," Rohit told the host broadcaster after the game.
Mumbai had a slow start to the season, before coming out on top of a mid-table jam to make it to the playoffs. They then beat Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator to reach the second Qualifier.
Players like Tilak Varma, who smashed 43 off 14 deliveries in their defeat on Friday, and Nehal Wadhera played a role in their run to the third-place finish.
"Our batting actually was the biggest positive," Rohit said. "Some of the younger players who have come through this tournament really well is a big positive for us, something that we can take into the next season and see what we can do with the squad."
On Friday, a glorious century from Shubman Gill powered Titans to 233. While Tilak, Suryakumar Yadav (61 off 38) and Cameron Green (30 off 20) played handy knocks, Mumbai were bowled out for 171.
"Yeah, look, it was a great total. Shubman batted really well. The wicket was really good. We thought, you know they got 20-25 runs extra. But you know with the batting line-up we had, we were quite positive once we went inside after the first half," Rohit said. "Couldn't stitch long partnerships. Greeny and Surya batted well in the middle, but we just lost our way there a little bit."
Rohit felt that because they lost three wickets, Mumbai didn't make the most of the powerplay, even as they raced to 72 after the first six overs.
"We thought about giving it a good crack. We wanted to be positive. And you know, you've got to make full use of the powerplay as well, which didn't go well for us. We lost a couple of wickets there and then, yeah, couldn't get that momentum which you actually want when you're chasing a target like that.
"But I thought Surya and Greeny batted well in the middle, got something for us there. But yeah, you know what? We wanted one batter just like what Gujarat did, Shubman batted till the end. We wanted someone to go and bat and take the game till deep and you never know, anything can happen."
Mumbai had to improvise plans after Ishan Kishan suffered a concussion while fielding. He collided with Chris Jordan by accident and went off the field and was replaced by Vishnu Vinod, who became the IPL's first concussion substitute. Wadhera opened with Rohit in Kishan's absence.
"Yeah, I mean, it's something that we didn't expect. He had a bit of a concussion there. I dont know how that happened, but yeah, it was a last-minute change," Rohit said. "But you know as a team you've got to adapt. That is something that we've been talking about since the start of the tournament.
"You've got to adapt to different conditions, different situations of the game. But yeah, I'm not going to look at that. We just didn't play well to win the game."
Vinod came out to bat in the 12th over, ahead of Tim David, and made 5 off 7 deliveries. Rohit said that decision was so that David could get a later point of entry, which seems more suited to his game.
"Tim through the season, we've given him a role, given him a certain situation of the game where he where he is going to bat. But yeah, I mean, look, we wanted Vishnu to come and play his game," Rohit said. "He is a good player. We have seen that. I have seen that personally. I mean, like I said, it didn't come off today. So I'm not going to look at any judgment that we made today went wrong. Its just that, you know, Gujarat came on top today."