Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians, IPL 2015, Chennai May 9, 2015

Ponting hails Mumbai's turnaround

ESPNcricinfo staff
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O'Brien: Pandya put his name up in lights

Mumbai Indians head coach Ricky Ponting has hailed the character and resolve of his team, after they turned around the disastrous start to the season - four straight losses - by winning five games in a row. Their latest victory was Chennai Super Kings' first defeat at home in 2015, and came despite needing 30 off the last two overs.

"It has been a great turnaround but it has nothing to do with me, full credit should be given to the players. We have worked really hard from the first game but things didn't quite go to plan," Ponting told iplt20.com. "We knew that if we can string a couple of wins together, we will be able to come back strong.

"In the first four games we actually played some reasonable cricket, but we lost some important moments which cost us. I think we have started to play more like a team now."

Mumbai had a similar start to the 2014 season as well, losing their first five matches, but came back to win seven of their last nine games to qualify for the playoffs.

One of the reasons for Mumbai's recent success has been the consistency of their opening partnership between Lendl Simmons and Parthiv Patel. Stands of 84, 1, 111, 43, 42, 35 and 47 in their last seven games have helped Mumbai start well.

"The opening partnership was the one area where we tried different things in the first three games to find the right combination," Ponting said. "Barring the game against Delhi Daredevils, our starts with the bat have been particularly good and we need to build that platform for the likes of Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard to come and finish things off well. Lendl Simmons and Parthiv Patel have done that. Parthiv's form in particular throughout this tournament has been very good. He hasn't been getting big scores but he has got us to a good start in every game."

With Lasith Malinga missing for the match in Chennai, the other bowlers stepped up to keep Super Kings to 158 after Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith were involved in a 44-run opening partnership in 29 balls.

"I think Mitchell McClenaghan has given us more wicket-taking firepower. Our spinners, J Suchith and Harbhajan Singh have been great," Ponting said. "This is a big win for the team. But as big as it is, we still have three more games coming up and we need to win them to give ourselves a chance to qualify for the playoffs. We cannot afford to get carried away but I am really proud of the way the guys have fared in the last five games."

Hardik Pandya scored a eight-ball 21, including three sixes off Pawan Negi in the penultimate over to help win the match for Mumbai. He also contributed in the field with three catches.

"I have actually got quite close to Pandya since I started in this job, he is fearless and has lots of very good skills," Ponting said. "We haven't seen his bowling much yet but it is particularly good. We saw some of his hitting prowess tonight and even in the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore where he took 16 in the end. He is going to be a very good cricketer going forward and is someone I am excited to continue to work with."

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  • Vikram on May 10, 2015, 18:53 GMT

    With the team that they have, losing 5 matches on the trot speaks about the team and the coaching XI. Agreed Pandya batted well, but flash in the pan performances from Pandya/the RCB kid are merely just that - flash in the pan.

  • o on May 10, 2015, 11:51 GMT

    @Drew2 This isn't International cricket and it's no surprise...Simmons doesn't make WI T20 team ahead of Gyale/Smith and when he has it's been low order. Lets look at top T20 run scorer across formats for 2014 and see who's at top http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/records/batting/most_runs_career.html?class=6;id=2014;type=year now lets also compare their IPL stats (what really matters) in India on equal footing not on Aussie drop ins with Warner at the other end. 2014 Finch AV 28 SR 117 Simmons AV 56 SR 135 Overall IPL Finch AV 25 SR 121 Simmons AV 45 SR 128 not even close so easy on the superior.

  • lylomanto on May 10, 2015, 7:39 GMT

    pandiya seems to be the solution for India's pace bowling all rounder ..he clocked abt 142.5 and I want to see him face of against starc at the death against rcb

  • Andrew on May 10, 2015, 2:53 GMT

    @BRUTALANALYST Granted Simmons is having a good season. The reason Finch has attracted the big bucks is because of his limited overs record, at both domestic and international level, which, by the way, is far superior to Simmons.

  • rashmi ranjan on May 9, 2015, 20:03 GMT

    Let's not expect a lot from Pandya at the moment which will put added pressure on him. let him play his natural game. He seems to be a very exciting talent. All the best MI for tomorrow match against RCB.

  • Dummy4 on May 9, 2015, 16:10 GMT

    Ok... there have been 8 IPL seasons (including the current one) and people have been climbing in MI for being slow starters.. well, frankly 3 out of 8 is less than 50% ...MI didn't start badly in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013... in 2009 they finished poorly ending up at 7th position..... so what's it about MI being slow starters.. ???? so seriously....

  • Dummy4 on May 9, 2015, 14:15 GMT

    Yawn. Same old story from MI year after year: start the tournament badly, then win all the must-win remaining matches and enter the playoffs in dramatic style. Too predictable.

  • o on May 9, 2015, 14:12 GMT

    Main reason for turn around is same as last year Lendll Simmons addition. Ponting should be admit his misrake of benching SImmons after his outstanding performance last year and had Finch not been injured he'd still be on the bench. Simmons should be receiving FInch's pay as he's the real star with bat and feld here Finch unfortunately has never made an impact in any season of IPL despite the big bucks he receives.

  • Sahan on May 9, 2015, 13:06 GMT

    CSK match should have been moved to Mumbai. But glad that justice was done and CSK lost.

  • o on May 9, 2015, 12:59 GMT

    Main reason for turn around is same as last year Lendll Simmons addition. Ponting should be ashamed of benching SImmons after his outstanding performance last year and had Finch not been injured he'd still be on the bench. Simmons should be receiving FInch's pay as he's the real star Finch unfortunately has never made an impact in any season of IPL.

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