Mumbai Indians thrashed Lucknow Super Giants by 81 runs in the Eliminator to secure their place in the second Qualifier against Gujarat Titans on Friday, May 26, at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
After opting to bat first on a sluggish surface, Mumbai were powered to 182 runs in the first innings courtesy off Cameron Green's 23-ball 41 and a quickfire 23 off 12 from Nehal Wadhera.
In reply, Lucknow never really got going in the run chase as Akash Madwal wreaked havoc with a five-wicket haul to power Mumbai to a record-breaking win.
In the post-match press conference, Naveen-ul-Haq shared his views on the game and admitted the team could have handled pressure much better in the run chase.
"It was an achievable target, and the wicket was playing really well. I think we could not handle the pressure in the middle and gave away three to four wickets in quick succession, which was the turning point of the game," he said.
The right-arm seamer has been at the receiving end with the fans chanting Virat Kohli's name around the stadiums due to his heated exchange with the batter in the league game on May 1. However, Naveen stated that the chants give him extra motivation to perform well for his side.
"I enjoy it. I like that everybody on the ground is chanting his name or any other player's name. It gives me the passion to play well for my team."
"I don't concentrate on the outside noise. I just focus on my own cricket and my process. It's not like if the crowd is chanting or anyone is saying something, it doesn't affect me."
"As a professional sportsman, you have to take it in your stride. One day you will not do your best for the team, and these fans are going to give it to you. On another day, you'll do a special thing for your team, and the same people are going to chant your name," he added.
The 23-year-old was the pick of the Lucknow bowlers and scalped four wickets for 38 runs to restrict the formidable Mumbai batting unit to par first-inning total. Speaking about the conditions on offer, he said, "You assess the conditions and what they offer. I think the pitch was offering a bit of help."
"It wasn't like we were bowling three to four slower ones in an over, but just to keep the batters guessing, you have to vary your pace and vary your line and length. It comes with T20, it's a fast format, and you have to adjust quickly and be a step ahead of the batter."
Despite the result not going in favour of the Super Giants, Naveen felt this edition of the tournament has ensured he is a much-improved cricketer with all the knowledge and the learnings.
"To be honest, the season was good. We could've done better as a team. Individual performances don't count. At the end of the day, our team's goal was to win the trophy."
"My individual performance comes second. It was a good season for me, and I learnt quite a few things from this IPL and hopefully come back stronger," he concluded.