IPL 2015: Mumbai Indians' 'memorable' victory
"We always had the belief of a turnaround," said cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar after Mumbai Indians won the Indian Premier League (IPL) title on Sunday night.
The team's mentor was euphoric after his side defeated Chennai Super Kings to lift the IPL trophy for a second time.
Lendl Simmons struck 68 off 45 balls in the final in Kolkata (Calcutta) and captain Rohit Sharma added 50 off 26 as Mumbai posted 202-5.
Dwayne Smith's 57 was in vain for MS Dhoni's Chennai, who were restricted to 161-8 in their 20 overs.
Mumbai Indians were docile in the beginning of the tournament and not many considered them as one of the frontrunners for the title.
They lost five out of their first six games, showing the wide gulf between them and table-topper teams like Chennai.
So what sparked this "remarkable turnaround"? The answer lies in Tendulkar's comment.
"We stepped together, worked hard, executed our plans. It was about how we stayed together during tough times," said Tendulkar.
The team improved, both in bowling and batting departments, with every match and never stopped believing in its abilities.
They went on to win 9 out of their remaining 10 matches.
As an article on the Mint website points out, the Mumbai Indians' "story this time around has been that of a transformation from virtual no-hopers to title winners".
The turnaround story
The team won its first game of the tournament against Royal Challengers Bangalore on 19 April.
It was a special match for the team because they appeared like a unit and backed each other.
Veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh showed some signs of his glorious past with his three wickets and Sri Lankan star Lasith Malinga found a steady partner in Mitchell McClenaghan.
The pace duo, along with Singh, gave the much-needed boost to the Mumbai Indians' bowling department in the remaining matches.
Writing on the First Post website, Tariq Engineer praises Malinga for shedding his "early season rustiness" and doing justice to his reputation as "one of the best limited-overs bowlers".
"In Mitchell McClenaghan, he had a wicket-taking partner with the new ball. And Harbhajan Singh demonstrated he still has the guile and tactical nous to wrinkle batsmen out," Engineer sums up the story of Mumbai's "bowling comeback".
Batting was another matter.
Captain Sharma led from the front and showed resilience in the remaining matches.
Kieron Pollard, Unmukt Chand, Hardik Pandya and Simmons played well as a unit and performed individually whenever their team needed some firepower.
But it was the opening pair of Simmons and wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel that made the difference.
After failing to find the right combination in the first few matches, the team management decided to go with Patel and Simmons.
And it paid dividends because the opening pair ensured that Mumbai batted deep to overhaul big totals.
As one analyst said, Mumbai's victory shows "that a fast start is often just that... and what matters in the IPL is how you finish".