Raipur: Mumbai Indians might have won a one-sided battle against Sri Lankan outfit Southern Express but skipper Kieron Pollard said that the players need to improve their fielding if they want to enter the Oppo Champions League Twenty20 main draw starting September 17.
Mumbai thrashed the Jehan Mubarak-led side by 9 wickets here today but were all over the place in the field as they dropped catches, missed a stumping and displayed poor ground fielding after they elected to bowl first. "We need to improve our fielders, If we field like that against better teams, they're going to kill us. We made it hard for ourselves by giving them 160. It could have easily been 120," said Pollard after the win.
The Mumbai openers laid a solid platform with a 139-run partnership as Lendl Simmons (76 not out) and Mike Hussey (60) helped the IPL side gallop to its target in 16.2 overs to stay alive in the race for the main draw. "Much better performance tonight. Congratulations to Simmons who got some runs, but there's a lot of room for improvements," he added.
"I did a bit of grafting up top while the ball was nipping around. We needed to get a good start and me and Huss did that today," said Man of the Match Simmons. A resurgent Mumbai, who have come back after a loss against Lahore Lions in their first qualifier, will now take on Northern Knights on Tuesday. Hussey said that hopefully we can take this momentum forward.
"You've got to cash in on the good days. I really enjoyed my partnership with Simmons. It was a bit frustrating at the start when the ball was nipping around. Once the ball gets a bit wet it skids on a bit more. Knights have played some excellent cricket, so hopefully our next match is a good one, said Hussey.
Earlier a sloppy effort in the field gave Express top-scorer Farveez Maharoof (41 not out) a life against Pragyan Ojha on the first ball of the 17th over after Shreyas Gopal dropped a sitter at long-off. Maharoof was on 9 then. After the spill, Gopal made a mess of a fielding chance at deep point to concede a boundary and a frustrated Ojha saw 13 runs come off his third over.
Wicketkeeper Kusal Perera also missed a stumping off Ojha to allow Angelo Perera (28) stay for another 9 runs and contribute to the 58-run sixth-wicket partnership between him and Maharoof. The Jehan Mubarak-led side, which has lost both its qualifiers, still hope to make it work in their final qualifier against Lahore Lions.
"Hopefully we'll take something away from this. We've not played our best brand of cricket. Next game is a day game, so hopefully dew will be less of an issue for the spinners," said Mubarak.