Johannesburg: The shocking defeat at the hands of local side Highveld Lions in the Champions League Twenty20 opener notwithstanding, Mumbai Indians batsman JP Duminy said the IPL side has the firepower to bounce back in the tournament.
Coming into the match as underdogs, Lions stunned a star-studded but sloppy Mumbai by nine runs last night to register the first upset of the Twenty20 tournament at the Wanderers.
But Duminy said it was just an off day as captain Sachin Tendulkar’s 42-ball 69 could not save the day for his side.
He insisted that Mumbai would roar back into the tournament in their next match against South Australia Redbacks in Durban on September 14.
“It is the first game of the tournament and obviously we would have loved to start the tournament on a winning note. But we are not yet out. There are three more games to go and we definitely have the side to make a comeback,” the left-handed South African batsman told reporters at the post-match press conference.
“He (Tendulkar) played exceptionally well but in the end cricket is a team game and all of us needed to chip in,” Duminy said.
Duminy said fielding remains a concern for the Mumbai team and lauded the Lions bowlers, especially Shane Burger who accounted for the crucial wickets of Tendulkar and dangerman Keiron Pollard, for their exemplary display at the death overs.
“I think we played pretty well but our fielding was not upto the mark and we need to address the issue in the coming games. But hats off to Lions bowlers. They bowled brilliantly at the end,” Duminy said.
Meanwhile, Lions captain Alviro Petersen said Tendulkar and Pollard’s wickets were the turning points of the match for his side.
“If they (Tendulkar and Pollard) were there, they could have won the match for Mumbai. So both the wickets were crucial,” he said.
He said coming into the match as underdogs, the home side could not have asked for a better start.
“It’s a great start. That’s what we have been looking for. I quite like the underdog status because there is no pressure on us. We wanted to enjoy and we did it. But I don’t call ourselves underdogs, it is the media which has given us the name.
“But whether we play against Tendulkar or any other player we will play with the same intensity.”
Like Duminy, Petersen also said he would have preferred to chase if he had won the toss.
“We obviously wanted to bowl first because our strength is batting and we also prefer to chase. But after we were sent into bat, our only target was to get a good score, something around 170. But 186 was a winning total on this wicket,” he said.
He also credited his bowlers for restricting the Mumbai Indians to 177 for six in their alloted 20 overs.
“On paper Mumbai Indians are definitely stronger than us but our bowlers came through beautifully in the end,” Petersen said.