Johannesburg: Mumbai Indians skipper Harbhajan Singh said they will need to play "better cricket" and felt the defending champions were 20 runs short after losing their opening match in the Champions League Twenty20 here on Sunday.
Mumbai suffered an eight-wicket defeat to local outfit Lions who rode on Neil McKenzie and Quinton de Kock's blazing half-centuries at the New Wanderers Stadium. "We need to play better cricket. There was a bit of dew, but we can't complain about that. I think we were 20 runs short," Harbhajan said in the post-match presentation ceremony.
Harbhajan was of the opinion that his batsmen failed to attack the Lions spinners. "I think we didn't look to attack their spinners, he (Dirk Nannes) got away with 15 runs for four overs."
He defended the move to send Mitchell Johnson ahead of specialists like Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik and Kieron Pollard. "Mitchell Johnson was the only left-hand batsman we had," he said about the Aussie who gobbled up a lot of balls enroute to his knock of 30.
He accepted the defeat and said the Lions played better cricket than Mumbai. "McKenzie played superbly, along with another youngster. Overall Lions played much better than us, they know the conditions better than us... credit to them."
Lions skipper Alviro Petersen was full of praise for his two star batsmen of the day. "De Kock is obviously a good player, he hits the ball sweet, McKenzie played like a young man, he showed again what a player he is.
"We are very happy. I thought the first 5-6 overs they dominated, but then (Aaron) Phangiso brought us back in it. We had our plans, and we just wanted to execute, we did it today.
"We know what we are about, what sort of cricket we can play. We put the bowling together from over five or six," Petersen said. Man of the Match McKenzie saw de Kock as a future captain.
"I'm just enjoying my cricket. de Kock is really an exceptional talent, got a good head for him, can hit the ball a long way, a nice leader for the future.
"We knew we had to be on our game today, even though there were quite a few Sachin Tendulkar fans out there,," he said.