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Mumbai Indians (MI) captain Rohit Sharma revisited the franchise’s horrid start to the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) season after they notched their first win of the ongoing 2023 campaign on Tuesday, April 11. The MI skipper, who has been associated with the franchise since 2011, admitted to not remembering when they had won their first game in 2022.

MI, the five-time IPL champions, finished last in 2022. Their start was a significant contributor to their poor show, where they lost their first eight matches. MI ended the season with four wins out of their remaining six games to finish with eight points. However, the franchise already had a reputation for being slow starters, and their losing streak in their opening match had extended to 11 years after losing to Royal Challengers Bangalore in their IPL 2023 opener. They followed it up with a tame loss to their arch-rivals Chennai Super Kings at home.

Rohit Sharma and his team finally got their first points on the board following a last-gasp win over the Delhi Capitals at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on April 11. Rohit Sharma was relieved to get the first win of the season much sooner than last year. In a post-match interaction with his teammate Tilak Verma, Rohit Sharma said, “Winning the first match of the season was really important. Last year we struggled. Five, six, seven matches, I don’t even remember when we won our first game in 2022.”

Rohit Sharma shared a crucial partnership with Tilak Varma for the second wicket during the run chase against DC. The partnership saw the MI skipper score his first IPL fifty since 2021, while the youngster chipped in with a valuable contribution, prolonging his good form.

Recalling the conversation during their partnership, Rohit Sharma said he had instructed Tilak not to play certain shots because forging a partnership was important then. He also mentioned that the over in which Tilak scored 16 runs was crucial. It would have been tough if there were not many runs from that over because Mustafizur and Nortje had overs left.

Tilak Varma came into bat midway through the eighth over, and it was the phase where DC had unleashed their spin bowling. With the pitch assisting the spinners, Varma had to be careful early on. He was batting on 12 runs off 12 deliveries before accelerating.

Varma said that his job at the crease, particularly early on, was eased because of how well Sharma performed at the other end. The deliveries from the spinners were gripping, and Rohit Sharma’s experience helped him cover the margin. Varma mentioned that it became easy for him as he took his time, took singles and settled down.

One of the significant turning points in the contest came in the form of the 16th over, where Varma scored 16 runs off the first three balls against Mustafizur Rahman. The Bangladesh pacer bounced back with the scalps of Varma and Suryakumar Yadav. Despite the wickets, the over helped in relaxing the required rate in the death overs.

The Mumbai Indians finally have their first win in IPL 2023, much to the relief of their captain Rohit Sharma. However, the franchise must address its slow start to defend its IPL title successfully.

The partnership between Rohit Sharma and Tilak Varma was crucial in securing the win for MI, and the franchise will hope that it’s the start of a successful campaign for the five-time champions.

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