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Prajakta Pawar in Jaipur

We were 20 runs short: Pretorius

Lions’ all-rounder still lauds his team’s efforts against mighty MI

Although they put up a tough fight to keep the game hanging in balance until mid-way through the second innings, the Highveld Lions lost the must-win game against the Mumbai Indians by seven wickets. Invited to bat, the Alviro Petersen-led side was tied down by the MI bowlers, until the captain and Dwaine Pretorius played valuable knocks later in the innings to help set a 141-run target for the opposition.

They returned to claim an early breakthrough with the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar and struck a couple of decisive blows thereafter to keep themselves in the game. That was until Dwayne Smith, who had held up one end, cut loose to take MI across the line in the penultimate over.
Pretorius, who made a crucial 31, also accounted for the key wicket of Rohit Sharma. While looking back at the game, the tall all-rounder, who is known for his big hitting abilities, told clt20.com that his team was about 20 runs short. However, he also appreciated the fight put up by the Lions when they faced off against the star-studded MI line-up.

Excerpts from his brief interview:

This was a tough loss. Your thoughts?

I think we were about 20 runs short, if we have to be hard on ourselves. But I think the guys really fought hard. At the end there with four overs to go and with two wickets, we could have actually won this game. So I think we actually did really well to hold the Mumbai Indians, a big brand, to a good fight. And the boys climbed in today, so yes I was very proud of them.

The way you batted today and the way the MI innings went initially, do you think it was a bit difficult out there to bat?

When we batted it was a bit stickier; when they hit back of the length, it didn’t really come through. I think towards the end of their innings the ball actually started to come on a bit better. But I think both teams bowled really well. That was the determining factor why the scores were so low compared to the other nights. I mean there was 220-odd, 180-odd scored back then.

The wicket of Rohit Sharma kept your team in the game

He is always a good player. Well, Mumbai Indians are packed with good players. So every time you get a wicket, you know there is one more coming in. I mean when Rohit got out, Kieron Pollard came in; we knew if we got him, maybe we had a chance. But still Rohit was a big wicket. I was very happy, the boys were happy. And we just backed ourselves from there.

What was celebration like after getting Sachin Tendulkar out early on?

Aaron Phangiso got him out early last year in the Champions League in South Africa pretty early as well. He is an amazing player; his record speaks for itself. We were all very happy and we thought now there is a chance if we get two more quick wickets, we are in it.

Do you reckon the way Dwayne Smith played made the difference?

He played a really good knock. He came through a difficult patch in the first two overs, tried and missed a few. But I think he played a really solid knock. He took on our dangerous spinner, Imran Tahir, and it came off for him. Next time maybe he will get him out, you never know. But he played really well.

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