Durban, Oct 26: Livid after Delhi Daredevils went down meekly to Highveld Lions in the Champions League Twenty20 semifinal, skipper Mahela Jayawardena said his team did not have the "right attitude" and was bogged down by nerves and pressure.
Jayawardena dropped himself from the line-up to accommodate the aggressive David Warner in the playing XI but the move hardly paid as Delhi fell short by 22 runs in a chase of 140 last night.
"We play very good cricket throughout but when it comes to those big matches, we don't seem to find the right attitude. It could be put down to nerves and pressure. Because it has happened to us in the past, it probably goes through our minds when we're playing a big game," Jayawardena said after the match in which only three Delhi batsmen hit double-digit figures.
"This is my first season with the Daredevils and this is something that I want us to talk among ourselves. We've got a good senior group and we can rectify that. True, we're getting at this level because we're a good team and are performing well.
"We need to make sure that once we get to into a big game, the guys put up their hands and perform. After losing a game, it's tough to be critical of yourself and analyse people," he added.
The Sri Lankan defended his decision to drop out of the game.
"With IPL teams you face a unique situation where you can play only four foreigners and you have to ensure you are playing the right guys.
"It becomes especially crucial in our case, where we have four quality overseas batsmen and everyone plays a different role. Going into this match, we realised that against the two left-arm pacers - Dirk Nannes and Sohail Tanvir - we needed a left-hander to open the batting," Jayawardena explained.
Jayawardena said that since explosive Englishman Kevin Pietersen had been assigned the anchor's role, he had no reason to play.
"There was no point of me batting in the middle order as I'm used to opening the batting and Ross Taylor is used to batting at No.5. We have KP batting in the top order as well. For me to play, we'd have had to make several changes, which we didn't want," he said.
"We thought it would be wise to make just one change at the top. It was a tactical decision. I think it also paid off to a certain extent as David batted well against the two left-armers and gave us the start that we wanted," he added.
"...we put KP in that anchor role. His role changed today as we wanted David to go and play his natural game. We didn't see a point in KP and me, both playing the anchoring role. We were right with our tactics but we didn't execute them well."
Jayawardena said the failure to build partnerships and a few mis-fields cost his team dearly.
"Chasing 140, we just needed one more partnership, which we didn't get. With the ball, I think we were pretty disciplined on the whole," he said.
"But we dropped a few catches and that probably cost us 15-20 runs in the field. These are the mistakes you don't want to make in a big game like this," he added.