After his stellar all-round performance against Kings XI Punjab went in vain, senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh attributed Mumbai Indian’s 18-run loss to top-order collapse from which they found it difficult to recover. Harabhajan turned the clock back as he first bowled beautifilly to take 2/20 in 4 overs and then hit 64 off 2 balls with six huge sixes. “We could have had different results but we lost too many wickets up front. One early partnership could have got us out of trouble, but it did not happen. Credit to Punjab bowlers as they bowled very well with the new ball,” Harbhajan said at the post-match press conference. “It was always going to be tough when you are 25 for 4 and 46 for 5. It always became a chasing game from that point,” he lamented. “It wasn’t a great game for us but am glad we came very close in the end and it will give us confidence going forward,” he added. “Mumbai’s strength has always been the first six overs while bowling which are crucial. We gave away too many runs. Viru (Sehwag) was going very strong and so too was (Murali) Vijay. They batted well and got 50-odd in five overs. We pulled things and I felt 170 on this wicket was chaseable,” said Harbhajan. Harbhajan admitted that their premier batsman Rohit Sharma’s early dismissal was a huge blow to their side.
“We needed to bat well. Losing Rohit up front was a big blow for us as he’s not only the best batsman but a class apart. If he gets going, we chase runs easily. Corey Anderson and Kieron Pollard are there to do the job but we still we want Rohit to give us the start and if he gets going no total looks difficult,” said, India’s third highest wicket taker in Test cricket. On his own blitz, Harbhajan said he was happy to bring the team close to the rivals’ score after the disastrous start. “I was trying my best to come close to the game. Unfortunately, I could not finish the game. When I came to the wicket I decided that if the ball falls in my area, I will hit it. The wicket here is good for playing shots. They bowled in the areas that I was looking to hit,” Harbhajan’s answer was as uncomplicated as his slam-bang approach. He was also satisfied with his bowling, while conceding he did not do as well as he could have in the first game against defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders, a game that the team lost. “I was quite happy with the way I bowled today. Obviously Kolkata was not that great. I did not bowl as well as I should have, with my experience or class or whatever. I am very happy to have come back well. It will obviously boost my confidence in this competition.”