Bhajji's hard talk

Defending champions Mumbai Indians crashed to an eight-wicket loss against South African side Lions in their opening game of the Champions League Twenty20 at the Wanderers on Sunday.

Chasing 158 for victory, Lions achieved the target in 18.5 overs, thanks to the efforts of former South Africa star Neil McKenzie (68 not out) and Quinton de Kock (51 not out).

Mumbai Indians skipper Harbhajan Singh said they need to play better cricket. “We need to play better cricket. There was some dew, but we can’t complain about that. I think we were 20 runs short,” he said after the match.

“I think we didn’t look to attack their spinners. Dirk Nannes got away with 15 runs of four overs.”

However, Harbhajan defended his decision to promote Mumbai Indians debutant Mitchell Johnson ahead of specialist batsmen like Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik and Kieron Pollard. “Mitchell Johnson was the only left-hand batsman we had,” he said. The Australian all-rounder top-scored with 30 off 29 balls.

Harbhajan said Lions played better cricket. “McKenzie played superbly, with the youngster (De Kock). Overall Lions played much better than us. They know the conditions better than us,” he said.

Lions skipper Alviro Petersen was all praise for McKenzie and De Kock. “De Kock is a good player, he hits the ball sweetly. McKenzie played like a young man, he showed again what a player he is,” Petersen said.

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