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News

Rohit Sharma: 'Can't keep dwelling on' Jasprit Bumrah's absence

Virat Kohli, meanwhile, heaped praise on RCB legspinner Karn Sharma and tagged his stand with Faf du Plessis "the perfect start"

On a night when Mumbai Indians were in danger for a long time of being brushed aside with all of Royal Challengers Bangalore's wickets intact, Rohit Sharma had to field the inevitable question around the hole losing Jasprit Bumrah leaves in his side.
Mumbai can't dwell on that, Rohit insisted. "For the past six to eight months, I am used to playing without Jasprit Bumrah [for India too]," he said after the loss. "Of course, this is a different set-up. Someone needs to put their hand up and come in to fill that place. We can't keep dwelling on it. You can try and control the things that are in your control and those that are not in your control, you can't do that. Injuries are not in your control.
"The other guys that we have are talented. It's just that they haven't played a lot of IPL. We need to give them the support."
Defending 171, each of Mumbai's bowlers - save for experienced legspinner Piyush Chawla whose four overs went for only 26 - had an economy rate in excess of eight. Their 11.2 overs of fast bowling - which included the likes of Jofra Archer, Cameron Green and Jason Behrendorff - went at a rate of 11.29 runs per over and that more than nullified the control Chawla had. It meant Mumbai lost their opening match by eight wickets with a whopping 22 balls remaining.
On the night, it was not just their bowling that let five-time champions Mumbai down. They had crumbled to 48 for 4 in the ninth over after being asked to bat and could get past 170 only because of rookie Tilak Varma's partnerships with Nehal Wadhera and Arshad Khan - both of whom were on T20 debuts. Varma added 50 with Wadhera for the fifth wicket before combining with Arshad to add an unbroken 48 in 17 balls, and in the process he stayed unbeaten on 84 off 46 balls. Rohit heaped praise on the youngster for "showing courage and being brave" in the middle.
"He is a very positive person, quite talented as well," Rohit said. "Some of the shots he played, in the first game of the season, he showed a lot of courage. That is something we spoke of - we want to be brave and courageous in the middle. We didn't start well, and it was always a catching up game. Hats off to Tilak to get us to a competitive total.
"It was a good pitch to bat on. We didn't bat to even half of our potential and yet got to 170. Probably 30-40 runs more would have been ideal. We were struggling to play the catch-up game but Tilak was magnificent."

Kohli: 'Me and Faf got off to the perfect start'

Mumbai had the momentum after a strong finish with the bat and would have been hopeful of ending their streak of starting an IPL season with a loss, one that has been going on since 2013. But Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis added 148 for the opening wicket to quash any hope Mumbai had of disappointing a sold-out Chinnaswamy Stadium. Later, Kohli said that the "phenomenal win" capped off a near-perfect homecoming for them.
"I thought with the new ball it [the pitch] was a bit tricky [to bat on]," Kohli said. "But because we took them [their bowlers] down with the new ball, that's where we shifted the momentum completely towards us. How they batted in the last two overs, it could have been tricky to walk out without intent. The way we both started nullified the intensity that they were going to bring onto the field.
"Me and Faf got off to the perfect start. We kept going, kept backing ourselves. Faf went first and then I joined later. So, it was a very comprehensive win and we wanted to win with balls to spare so that it could benefit our net run rate a little bit."
Despite being part of the Royal Challengers squad, legspinner Karn Sharma did not get a game last season. On Sunday, though, he picked up a couple of crucial middle-order wickets to puncture Mumbai's recovery. After being hit for two sixes by Wadhera, Karn tossed another one up to have him hole out before getting one past hard-hitter Tim David to bowl him.
"When he got the left-hander out after getting hit for two sixes, that's brave bowling," Kohli said of Karn. "That comes from a lot of repetition of bowling in the right spot. He's had a good domestic season. He was bowling so well for us last year, unfortunately he couldn't get a game. He was ready to play, even in the nets here he wasn't getting hit for sixes in the nets easily.
"[He is] very confident with the skillsets and his spell in the middle was very crucial. He got a couple of big wickets and put us on the front foot in the middle phase."