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Mumbai Indians' Tilak Varma celebrates after scoring a half-century during the Indian Premier League match against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Image Credit: AFP

Bengaluru: While praising young left-handed batter Tilak Varma for his unbeaten 84 off just 46 balls, Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma admitted that rest of the batting line-up didn’t bat very well on a pitch which was good to bat upon.

Pushed into batting first, Mumbai crumbled to 48/4 and then to 123/7 at one stage, looking in danger of being shot out for a below-par total. But Varma stood tall and impressed everyone with his skill and temperament in hitting nine boundaries and four sixes at a strike-rate of 182.6, as Mumbai got 69 runs from the last five overs.

“Didn’t have a great start but was a good effort from Tilak at the end. But the bowlers didn’t bowl well. We didn’t bat well enough, it was a good pitch. Some of the shorts he played today, he showed a lot of courage.

Tilak praised

We wanted to be courageous enough, and hats off to Tilak for getting us to the total. Was a good pitch to bat on. We did not bat to our potential. 30-40 runs would have been ideal. We were struggling to play the catch-up game,” said Rohit in the post-match presentation ceremony.

With the ball, Mumbai’s bowlers were all over the place as Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis smashed half-centuries in a 148-run opening partnership. Though they got two wickets, it was too late by then to avoid a loss in their opening match of IPL 2023.

Rohit refused to use the absence of Jasprit Bumrah as a reason behind lacklustre bowling performance.

“For the past six-eight months I am used to playing without Bumrah. We can’t control things which we can’t control. The other guys are also talented. A lot of the guys haven’t played IPL before. First game of the season, a lot to look forward to,” he said.

Du Plessis, who was named Player of the Match for his 73 off 43 balls, including five fours and six sixes, felt great in playing a part in making a happy homecoming for RCB.

Old hamstrings

“It’s awesome to play (in M Chinnaswamy Stadium). It’s my first time playing here as a home player, especially batting with Virat Kohli. You have to try and stay with the youngsters. I try to push the old hamstrings so that I can move in the field. To start the campaign with a bang, was huge,” the RCB skipper said.

Faf was also appreciative of the bowlers for ratting Mumbai’s top-order batters in power-play.

“It was a nice way to start the way we did in the powerplay. Siraj with his tail up is a beautiful thing. The bowler stuck to their task,” he said.

“The last two or three overs were a bit of learning. The cutters were working really well, it was not easy to hit the ball. There was value for your shots. Credit to the groundsman. Even the spinners found something,” he added.