John Wright began his coaching stint with Mumbai Indians in IPL VI and led them to immediate glory. Then too, Mumbai had started with a defeat in their opening match, but with the Champions League Twenty20 2013 being a more compressed tournament, Mumbai's loss against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday (September 22) will be more difficult to overcome. (Clinical Rajasthan Royals keep their Jaipur fortress intact)
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"It's definitely not the start we wanted, but it's a jolt and we have to lift our performance in every area in three tough games. The ball is in our court now. If we want to reach the semis, we've got to win our next three matches," said Wright after the seven-wicket defeat. (Stats: Sanju Samson shines with bat and gloves)
Mumbai will now travel to Ahmedabad, where they play Otago Volts and Highveld Lions before taking on Perth Scorchers in Delhi. Wright said that while Mumbai were up "against some good sides", they had an advantage due to better local knowledge. "They'll be in Indian conditions, so we know exactly where we stand."
Wright put his finger on Mumbai's batting as the cause for the defeat against Rajasthan. "It was a good toss to win (for Rajasthan) but you can't blame the conditions. They played the better cricket this evening. We knew it will be a tough game. They are a well-organised side and know their conditions well. And we were probably 20 short with the bat," he said. (No hangover from IPL spot-fixing scandal, says Rahul Dravid)
On a pitch that had a fair bit for seamers, Mumbai opted for two spinners in Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha, a decision that Wright said could "possibly" have been off target. (Related read: Rohit Sharma, Mumbai Indians fined for slow over-rate)
"That was something we considered carefully," he conceded. "But we know that using two spinners last year, they were very effective. It didn't prove the case tonight, and that was one of the situations we considered. We were hoping the ball would grip a little more if we were in the field first. But I don't think you can lay this defeat at our bowling and fielding performance. We needed to get a few more runs, even though it was challenging at the start. Sometimes there's not a lot in these games."
Mumbai had some bad luck too when Sanju Samson, batting on one, was rapped on the pads by Mitchell Johnson for what looked like a very good shout, but was ruled not out. Samson hit 54, the only half-century of the match. "He played alright, he had a bit of luck early on, I thought," said Wright. "But that's the way it goes. He's a young cricketer that has this opportunity in a big stage and that's what you want from your young players. He chanced his arm and he made a difference."
Rohit fined for slow over-rate
Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai Indians captain, was fined along with his team-mates for Mumbai's slow over-rate during the game against Rajasthan Royals. Mumbai were assessed to be one over behind after allowances were taken into consideration. Since it was his first offence of the season, Rohit was fined US$ 1500 while the other members of the team were fined US$ 750 each.