Mumbai: Pune Warriors’ skipper Sourav Ganguly is happy to have started IPL 5 with a victory, but feels that there is still a long way to go in the tournament. "It's always good to start with a win but we still have 15 matches to go. It is a long tournament. I have earlier been in situations where we won the first couple of matches but then went downhill," a cautious Ganguly said after the match.
Ganguly believes that the innings played by Steven Smith and Robin Uthappa proved very crucial at the end. "It wasn't a bad score . I feel Steven [Smith] and Robin Uthappa really batted well." Mumbai Indians’ skipper Harbhajan Singh, on the other hand, seemed a disappointed man but conceded that Pune were better today.
"Pune played better cricket and were a better side today. We didn't bat well, failed to rotate the strike in the middle overs," Harbhajan said. The Mumbai skipper praised Ashok Dinda and Murali Kartik, who caused the early damage in the Mumbai’s innings. "Dinda brought Pune back in the match with those early strikes and Kartik also bowled well first up."
Harbhajan also blamed his batsmen for messing up what looked like a comfortable run-chase. "We bowled very well to restrict them to 129. But we lost too many wickets up front (3 for 5) and from then on played catch-up [cricket]. It was a total that should have been chased, whatever be the nature of the wicket. It was a game that we should have won," he said.
When asked about the absence of senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar because of the finger injury he sustained in the opening game against Chennai Super Kings, Harbhajan said while the team did miss Tendulkar's presence, it’s time for the other players to take up more responsibility.
"Sachin is such a big player and we obviously missed him. But it's time for others to take up the responsibility as individuals. I don't want to name anyone. We need to bat according to situations and wicket conditions. We should not make [the] same mistakes. Hopefully, we will learn from the mistakes we made today," he said.
Harbhajan also praised Ganguly for the way he led his team. "Dada [Ganguly] is a very special captain. He had captained India for so long and so well and made us believe we were match-winners. Today again he showed his skills as a captain, with his bowling changes etc. I have learned a lot from him."
Steven Smith, who was adjudged Man of the Match for his useful innings of 39 said "140 was a good score on this track. But our bowlers really did a good job and it feels great to start off with a win. It will help us gain the momentum,"