Mumbai Indians have scripted a memorable comeback in IPL 8. From no-hopers to No. 2 in the IPL table, Mumbai Indians now look the team to beat as they host two-time champions Chennai Super Kings in the IPL's first qualifier at Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday. The winners get a ticket to the May 24 final at Eden Gardens.
From four consecutive defeats to winning seven of their last eight games leading to the playoffs, Mumbai Indians have done justice to their potential and more importantly, their support staff that includes three legends of the game - Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar and Jonty Rhodes. Led by the gifted Rohit Sharma, Mumbai will be on a high after their emphatic nine-wicket away win against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday.
"Momentum plays a huge role in this format and it is very important to carry that winning habit into the next game every time you play. We do enter the playoffs with a lot of confidence and we know it won't be easy, as has been the case with Mumbai Indians throughout the league stages," said Rohit.
Mumbai and Chennai, both former champions, have a 10-10 head-to-head record and their 21st encounter will have a lot at stake. Equally matched in terms of potential and experience, Tuesday's blockbuster will be a battle of nerves too.
"We are prepared for it and we will perform to our best. It is just a matter of being in the present and not thinking about what we have done in the league stages. We can take positives from it. We know the conditions there (at Wankhede) and I am sure we can put up a great show," Rohit told iplt20.com.
With little margin for error, Rohit will bank on his openers Lendl Simmons and Parthiv Patel for an explosive start. Simmons and Patel were involved in a 106-run stand against Sunrisers. This was their highest opening stand versus Sunrisers in the IPL.
"I feel we have played good games till now but the playoffs will be a different ball game. You can't afford to make too many mistakes but knowing you have a second chance it gives us the license to play fearless cricket.
"We have been in this situation before in 2013 where we played against the same opposition, qualified in the top two and we had another chance. We want to go out there and play without thinking about the result. We won't think about who we are playing, we will be focusing on our strengths," said Rohit.