Harbhajan Singh, the Mumbai Indians captain, has criticised the Wankhede Stadium pitch for the game against Deccan Chargers on Sunday, saying it was not ideal for Twenty20 cricket. The grassy pitch offered plenty of seam movement and the batsmen from both sides struggled. Chargers set a paltry target of 101, which Mumbai chased down in 18.1 overs with five wickets in hand.
"This was a different wicket from what we have played at the Wankhede," Harbhajan said. "Not good for Twenty20 cricket. I came today and saw the pitch and said 'wow what to expect here', we never know what to expect from this track ever. From next time, I think we have to ensure we know what kind of wicket we are going to play."
Chargers captain Cameron White too agreed with Harbhajan, saying it was "probably not an ideal T20 wicket", but admitted that Mumbai played better.
White had captained the team in place of Kumar Sangakkara, who sat out. White said the decision was taken by Sangakkara and the coach Darren Lehmann, in the best interests of the team combination. Sangakkara has been struggling for form this season, scoring 83 runs in five innings. White, though, praised Sangakkara for his selflessness.
"Darren Lehmann and Kumar were discussing it (the combination) and decided to pick the best combination for this wicket," White said. "Very selfless thing for Kumar to do. It's unusual to change the captain when you get to the ground. It backfired now but on other occasions it might work."
White said he and the rest of the batsmen should take the blame for the defeat. "We failed to bat out our overs, we still had eight balls to face. At the end of the day you're not going to win too many T20 games when you score 101.
"The way our team make-up is, we probably need three overseas batsmen. I don't think we have the luxury of doing that because our local batters aren't strong at the moment."
Dale Steyn bowled a hostile spell for the Chargers, bowling Richard Levi first ball and beat the bat on several occasions. He finished with figures of 4-0-10-2 but the support bowlers weren't good enough to sustain the Chargers. Rohit Sharma had several close calls against Steyn but the batsman carried the chase with 42, before falling 26 short of the target. White was full of praise for Rohit.
"Rohit Sharma I believe is one of the best players in the world. I find it very hard to believe he's not playing for India in all three formats," White said. "He's just class and Dale was able to get it past the outside edge and it was a great contest."
Edited by Kanishkaa Balachandran