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After a torrid start to the 2015 Indian Premier League season, Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma was pleased to prove the doubters wrong by leading his side to victory in the final against Chennai Super Kings.
The Indians, champions in 2013, lost five of their first six matches of the regular season to leave themselves a mountain to climb to reach the play-offs.
However, they won seven of their next eight to finish second in the table, before outclassing Chennai in Sunday's final at Eden Gardens, prevailing by 41 runs.
Rohit smashed 50 from 26 balls as Mumbai made 202-5 and Chennai were never up with the rate in their chase as they finished on 161-8.
"It has been a very good journey," Rohit said. "To bounce back from that situation we found ourselves in in the first half is very rare.
"It has been a great journey. I couldn't have asked for more. It was important to show character.
"We knew we had guys who could do that. This is a sweet victory because we came from nowhere, with people writing us off."
"Extremely satisfying," added coach Ricky Ponting. "I told the boys these have been a special couple of months, and that it would be memorable if we capped it off.
"Yes, stressful after the first six matches, I didn't have nails left, but we have come back well. The way the team has grown, the way our captain has grown, it has been special. We played probably our best match in the final."
Losing skipper MS Dhoni, meanwhile, has now overseen four defeats in Chennai's six final appearances, with their last triumph coming back in 2011.
"It was a good wicket. I don't think there was uneven bounce, the ground was small, the outfield was quick," he said.
"If we had kept them to 180 the game was on. This was a good team effort, but we never reached 100 per cent efficiency level.
"Losing Brendon McCullum just before the knockouts was a big blow. These are all part and parcels, you can't really help it.
"Overall the team performance was good, but we need to go back to the drawing board and see how we can win the IPL."
|1||Ronald James||828 pts|
|2||BAYAR VEHARA||802 pts|
|2||Kristian Nybakk||802 pts|