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Tomorrow’s game is like final for us, says MI coach Ponting

Mumbai Indians practice session

Mumbai: Emphasising on the importance of tomorrow’s IPL match against Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians coach Ricky Ponting today termed the clash against the defending champions as a “virtual final” for his team.

“Tomorrow’s game is almost like a final. Tomorrow’s game becomes the most important game for us in the tournament. That’s the way we will approach the match,” said Ponting on the eve of MI’s crucial game against the title holders.

While the Knight Riders are just one win away from entering the play-off stage of the tournament, MI need to win tomorrow’s match to boost their chances of advancing.

Although the Mumbai outfit might still make the play-offs even after losing, provided the other results pan out in its favour, Ponting stressed on the importance of giving 100 per cent against KKR.

“It’s no good looking at the mathematics, no good looking at what other teams are doing. We have no control over that. We obviously have control over our performance and that’s what we are focusing on. We are training and preparing today and make sure we are ready to play our best game of the tournament tomorrow,” said the former Australian captain.

Ponting has advised his bowling unit to forget the thrashing it got from the Royal Challengers Bangalore, and in particular from AB de Villiers, in their previous game that MI lost tamely.

“I made it clear to the guys at the end of that game that we need to move on and leave that result behind. AB’s innings (of 133 not out in 59 balls) was perhaps one of the best I have seen in this format of the game,” he said.

“What I was really pleased with was the way we fought with the bat the other night. We scored almost 200 ourselves. That will have to be the positive from that game for us. If you look at the stats of day games at this venue, 165 is the par score, so both teams had played exceptional cricket.

“Unfortunately RCB was too good for us that day, thanks to a couple of very good innings from de Villiers and (Virat) Kohli,” Ponting added.

The coach said that his team needed to move on in order to take on the fresh challenge.

“We have moved on from that. We had our bowlers’ meeting today and we reinforced to all the bowlers how important it is for them to move on from that last game, forget about that performance and get well prepared to the big challenge coming from KKR,” said Ponting.

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