Mumbai, April 16: Poor fielding, especially a first-ball spilled catch off Brendon McCullum who hit his way to 81, cost Mumbai Indians the match against IPL debutantes Kochi Tuskers Kerala on Friday, said home team captain Sachin Tendulkar.
"They fielded better. In bowling and batting we matched each other, but in fielding department they were better as they held on to whatever catches they got. We missed those opportunities." Tendulkar said after Kochi chased down Mumbai's imposing 182 for 2 with eight wickets and six balls to spare.
Tendulkar conceded that his die revised their projected target due to the changing nature of the pitch.
"When we started earlier we thought anywhere between 160-165 was a good total as the ball seamed around a bit initially and later on it was a good track to bat on.
"But I thought if we had hit the right areas in bowling - though at times we did manage it - and those important catches. McCullum was dropped 1st ball itself (by Rohit Sharma off Lasith Malinga). These things happen and that's why you say catches win matches," added the champion batsman, who hit his maiden IPL century, a 66-ball 100.
Tendulkar said the game was still in the balance when Malinga got rid off McCullum but a few fielding lapses saw the match slip through their fingers.
"The game was very much alive. If Malinga could get McCullum out and put the pressure back on them it would have been wonderful. The first half we managed and was wonderful, but in the second half a few lapses in fielding cost us the match," he said.
Tendulkar said he never planned for a century and it happened as he wanted to get as many runs as possible.
"I feel happy that it (century) has happened. Yes I did not think of all this before going to bat, just wanted to get as many runs as possible," he said.
He praised Ambati Rayudu and said he always felt the young Hyderabad player had the talent and all the shots in the book.
"I have always thought very highly of him he's very talented got all the shots in the book and can play everything. As far as his talent is concerned, I did not have any doubts. First time I heard of him was when he was playing under-19 player for India," said Tendulkar about Rayudu with whom he shared a century stand.
Mumbai Indians lost after two successive victories and Tendulkar said there would be crests and troughs in the tournament and it is still a long way to go.
"We are disappointed, but there are going to be ups and downs in this format. However much you plan you need to do certain things spontaneously. Not to forget opposition was also here to win.