Mumbai Indians skipper Kieron Pollard rued the fact that team's batting let them down as the defending champions crashed out of the qualifying round of the Champions League T20, here on Tuesday. (Match report | Scorecard | Highlights)
"They (Northern Knights) fielded well as we could have scored atleast 150-160. What happens in Champions League T20 is that most of the overseas outfits want to beat Mumbai Indians and they bring their 'A' game to the fore," Pollard said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
While Northern had won their first two matches, Pollard admired them for not letting the guard down.
"They could have relaxed but they didn't, that's their professionalism."
Premier batsman Kane Williamson said,"We started off the competition on a shaky note but we know we are a good fielding outfit. It was great to put up a good display in the last two games. It's great to go into the main draw and hope to keep the confidence going."
Skipper Daniel Flynn praised his new ball bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult.
"Exceptional performance with the ball, with Tim and Trent setting the tone, and the openers set up the chase. The main draw should be fantastic. The boys have really enjoyed the atmosphere," said Flynn.
Man of the match Scott Styris feels that efforts of last four to five years have bore fruit.
"We've been trying to get into this tournament for 4-5 years. Now we have some very good young players. Kane Williamson is a quality player, and the two quicks are world-class."
Earlier, Mumbai Indians batting floundered, yet again as the high-profile franchise could manage only 132 for nine in their 'do-or-die' final qualifying game after being put into bat by Northern skipper Daniel Flynn.
Save skipper Kieron Pollard, who scored 31 off 24 balls, none of the Mumbai Indians batsmen displayed enough firepower against a disciplined Northern bowling attack which used the sluggish pitch to good effect.
It was young Shreyas Gopal, who smashed 24 off 12 balls, who took MI past 130-run mark.
While 39-year-old Styris (3/21) had the best figures among the bowlers, it was Southee (3/24), who was both deadly and economical in his first three overs before Gopal took him apart in the final over of the innings.
At the start, Mike Hussey (7) got impatient as he tried to give Southee the charge in the fourth over of the innings but couldn't get the required elevation as Scott Kuggeleijn took a diving catch at mid-on.
MI's experiment with Jalaj Saxena (10) failed yet again as the MP all-rounder managed a six of Kuggeleijn but was gone when Kane Williamson took a blinder at cover, inches off the ground with Styris being the bowler.
It was not expected that Jalaj will be Rohit Sharma's replacement but he has done precious little in the three matches that he played in the tournament.
The pitch aided military-medium Northern bowlers as the normally attacking Lendl Simons (13, 17) also found it tough to get going. Finally, he lost his patience trying a slog shot moving towards leg-stump but was bowled in the process giving Styris his second wicket.
MI were struggling at 34 for three in the eighth over. With not many runs on the board and overs running by, it was consolidation time for the 'Men In Electric Blue' but unfortunately it didn't happen.
The normally dependable Ambati Rayudu was done in by sharp short ball from left-arm seamer Trent Boult as he just guided it in the hands of glovesman BJ Watling to make it 44 for four.
It soon became 46 for five, when Styris got his third victim of the match when Aditya Tare (7) tried a cut shot but was smartly snapped by Watling.
Pollard (31) and Harbhajan Singh (10) stemmed the rot briefly with a 29-run stand but it was certainly not enough. Pollard did manage to hit a big six off Kuggeleijn and a couple of boundaries but was nowhere near his destructive best with little support from the other end.
Harbhajan was holed in the deep off Kuggeleijn while Pollard mistimed a pull-shot that was taken by Daniel Harris at the deep square leg off Southee's bowling to leave MI tottering at 89 for seven.