Mumbai: Crashed out of the Indian Premier League after going down to Chennai Super Kings in the Eliminator, Mumbai Indians head coach John Wright admitted that the reigning champions were completely outplayed in all departments of the game.
"We had a lot of confidence going into the match because in the last one year or so we have been tough opponents for CSK. To their credit, they probably outplayed us in all departments," Wright said at the post match press conference after Mumbai Indians lost by seven wickets to Chennai Super Kings at the Brabourne Stadium here last night.
The two-time champion, Chennai comfortably managed to overhaul Mumbai's 173 with eight balls to spare and Wright rued that his side fell short by 20 runs. "We probably ended up with 20 runs less with the bat. From the position we got to, we were looking at 190 plus. While bowling we needed early wickets but could not achieve that. We weren't quite on top of our game and were punished for that," said the former New Zealand captain.
"We probably needed more runs. At one stage we had a lot of wickets in hand. It was a matter of just one player coming off, but it did not happen. We have some big power hitters but we did not play in the dominating manner. We needed someone in those last five overs," he pointed out. Wright said his players knew if they could perform the same way as they did against Rajasthan Royals on Sunday night to qualify for the play-off stage, they would trouble Chennai, but that did not happen.
"We went into this game knowing that if we could play at the level we did the other night (against the Royals), it would be pretty close. It was certainly our best game and probably the most outstanding T20 game. One of the great games in this competition. But one can't do it every day.
"But even the other night the bowling was a little bit rugged and possibly tonight, too. Although PK (Praveen Kumar) and Bhaji (Harbhajan Singh) were outstanding. We probably did not put enough balls in the right areas," Wright said. The former Kiwi opener, meanwhile, praised the Super Kings' bowlers, saying, "I thought they bowled pretty well and intelligently, wicket to wicket. They made things challenging for us. A couple of balls did not quite clear the boundary. Sometimes they go for sixes.
Wright, however, disagreed that his players panicked. "There was no panic but we could have finished off a little bit better with the bat. We got a good start. We knew it was good batting conditions, short boundary. But a couple of things did not go for us. "Chennai got good partnership going. They played pretty well. (David) Hussey and (Suresh) Raina played smart cricket. We were not quite good enough," admitted Wright.
Wright said he was proud of the way his team bounced back in the tournament after a dismal start with five successive defeats in the UAE. "We fought very hard since we have been back in India and I can't fault the boys from the position we were in. It's just disappointing for all of us to get to the final four and not make it count. It will be disappointing to watch rest of tournament from the side.
"We were very rusty in the beginning in most areas, but having said that, it was a fantastic effort the other night to get to the final four and with that momentum going for us we needed to carry that on into this match. We really did not get there," explained Wright. In a nutshell, Wright said the team lacked consistency, which hurt it in the final analysis.
"We haven't had the consistency that was needed, did not have it at the start. (Opener) Lendl Simmons did a magnificent job coming into the team (late). He really turned things around for us. We juggled things a little bit. But the trouble is with such a start, sometime you question your combinations and sometimes it takes a little while to get that right."
Wright conceded the team missed its bowling kingpin Lasith Malinga after the Sri Lankan left the team towards the end of the league stage to join his country in England. "We missed someone like Malinga...He's a quality bowler. But that's the way it is and it provided opportunity for others," concluded Wright.