Rohit Sharma is confident Mumbai Indians will have "the fifth one in the bag" if the defending champions continue doing the little things right in the IPL 2020 final. Sharma, who is the only captain to have won four IPL titles in the 13-year-old tournament, also felt that Mumbai hold a "little bit" of a "psychological advantage" over Delhi Capitals, who will play their maiden final on Tuesday and have lost three out of three games against Mumbai this season.
Even without Sharma saying it, Mumbai remain favourites to retain the title. They were the first to make the playoffs and finished with the most wins in the league phase. In Qualifier 1 they brushed aside the Capitals, amassing a huge target after being put in to bat and then shutting down the Capitals with the ball, entering the final for the sixth time. Of the five previous times they have made the final, Mumbai lost to the Chennai Super Kings in 2010, but then won the title in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019.
"There will be a psychological advantage a little bit, yes," Sharma said on Monday, answering questions from the media. "But, again, what we have seen with the IPL is every day is a fresh day, every day is a new pressure, and every game is a new game. So you can't think too much about what has happened in the past; of course, you can take a lot of confidence from the past. You just can't dwell on it. You just need to move forward and think about what you want to do in that particular game."
The Capitals will also enter the final with fresh zest, having gone with a new tactical approach in their victory over the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Qualifier 2, where they pushed Marcus Stoinis up the order and brought back Shimron Hetmyer.
"One guy having a good day can take the game away from you," Sharma said. "It is that simple in this format. We just need to keep at it all the time, need to focus on the little, little things which we have done through the season really well. Again, nothing changes for us - treat this as a new game, fresh game, and a new opponent, to be honest.
"We can't think about 'we have played these guys before and we've beaten them'. We just have to treat them as a new opponent and what will we do as a team against that opponent. It is that simple for us. We keep doing the right things on the field, I'm sure we will have the fifth [IPL title] one in the bag."
Sharma said winning the toss was "very important", but in the end he would rely on what the team needed, and wouldn't be "worried" about how the toss goes as long as his team continued to play good cricket.
'Confident of Boult recovery, but Hardik won't bowl'
Trent Boult bowled just two overs in Qualifier 1 against the Capitals before going off with a groin injury, but Sharma said the left-arm fast bowler had "pulled up" well and was on track to make the XI for the final.
"Trent looks pretty good. He's going to have a session today with all of us, and we'll see how he goes," Sharma said. "He pulled up pretty well in the last two days, so fingers crossed, hopefully he plays."
One bowling option Sharma will continue to not have is that of Hardik Pandya, who hasn't bowled at all in IPL 2020, having recently returned from injury. The Mumbai captain held that as long as Hardik was batting the way he was, it was good enough.
"He's not comfortable at the moment to bowl," Sharma said. "We've left that decision on him. If he's comfortable, he'll be happy to bowl, but at the moment he's not feeling comfortable. He's got some niggle going. It would have been great to have him bowl, but throughout the season we've given him that cushion of being in that comfort zone and making sure he takes care of his body - and he's done that really well. So we don't want to put that pressure on individuals where we're expecting something from him and he's not able to do it, and the team morale goes down. We don't want that situation. Hardik to us is very important as a player, and his batting has been really, really key for us making it to the final. As long as he bats, I'm happy."
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo