Losing skipper Harbhajan Singh had no qualms in accepting the fact that Mumbai Indians were done in by Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy in Pune Warriors India’s opening Indian Premier League (IPL) match at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday.
Mumbai Indians, after electing to field, did a splendid job by restricting the neighbours Pune to 129-9 in 20 overs. Lasith Malinga and Munaf Patel claimed two wickets each while only Robin Uthappa (36) and Steven Smith’s (39) batting performances were noteworthy for Pune.
Going by MI’s opening game, this total seemed to be a cakewalk. But Ganguly, who last captained an IPL side (Kolkata Knight Riders) two years ago, put in all his experience of leading the Indian team over the years to great effect.
“Today, of course, he (Ganguly) was fantastic. His great knowledge about the game and experience of leading the Indian team for years reflected in the match.
His tactics were amazing. Some of the bowling changes were brilliant. There is a lot to learn from him,” Harbhajan said after Mumbai Indians’ shocking 28-run loss.
“Dada was obviously a very special captain for India. The way he led today, he showed he is India’s greatest captain ever. When he led the (Indian) team, there weren’t many match-winners.
He made us feel that we are the match-winners and gave us the confidence that we can win games for India,” added the offie. None of the Mumbai Indians’ batsmen, except Dinesh Karthik and James Franklin (both scored 32) got going and slumped to 101-9 in their stipulated 20 overs.
“Everything went wrong in the second half. We bowled well and stuck to our plans, and restricted them to 129. It could have been chased on any kind of wicket.
But we lost too many wickets up front and from thereon we were playing catch-up. We couldn’t recover from that. We have actually forgotten to chase low totals,” rued Harbhajan.
He said other players need to take responsibility to the see the side through. “Not every time Sachin will help us win matches. Every member has to contribute to do something special. We have to learn from our mistakes if we have to do better in this tournament,” he concluded.
Brief scores: Pune Warriors 129-9 (Smith 39, Robin Uthappa 36; Lasith Malinga 2-16). Mumbai Indians 101-9 (James Franklin 32, Dinesh Karthik 32; Ashok Dinda 4-18, Murali Kartik 2-14).