Mumbai want to be first to qualify, says Harbhajan Singh

Mumbai Indians off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Saturday said the team would like to clinch two crucial points against Deccan Chargers on Sunday to facilitate their entry into the semi-finals of the Indian Premier League.

“Definitely, this is like a home game (for us) and we would like to win this game, go upto 10 points and we have got another two games at home. We want to make sure that we play good cricket and be the first one to qualify for the semis. We don’t want to leave any thing for the latter part of the tournament,” Harbhajan told reporters here ahead of the team’s match against Deccan Chargers in Navi Mumbai on Sunday.

Harbhajan said the fact that Deccan Chargers home match is being played in Navi Mumbai will work in Mumbai Indians’ favour.

“Their home game is in Mumbai so definitely there will be a lot of crowd support (for us) and looking forward to it,” Harbhajan said.

“Deccan are a very good team and have played some good cricket in the tournament so far and we are looking forward to have a good match tomorrow and hopefully we can beat them,” he added.

Harbhajan said the team had learnt from the mistakes of the past two seasons.

“We made a lot of mistakes in the last two editions but we have learnt from them. In the last two editions, we were almost there. But now everyone is taking up the responsibility, doing the job, and not keeping it for others,” he said.

Harbhajan also heaped praise on Mumbai Indians skipper Sachin Tendulkar and said that the master batsman was leading from the front.

“Hats off to him, he’s batting really well. He’s been a great match winner for India and is now doing it here for Mumbai Indians. It is great to have a player who is leading from the front and scoring all the runs. I hope he continues to stay with this form and wins lots of games for us.”

Harbhajan said all-rounder Ryan McClaren had suffered from a niggle, while middle order batsman Ambati Rayudu, who had injured himself during the team’s match against Royal Challengers, Bangalore, was fit for Sunday’s game.

“I think Ryan McClaren probably has got some niggle. He is taking it easy today and should be fit for tomorrow. If not we have got a lot of players who can come in and do well.”

“Rayudu is fit to play. He is feeling much better and batting in the nets so he will be fit for tomorrow,” he added.

On whether the match would be a renewal of rivalry between him and Andrew Symonds, Harbhajan said, “(It is) just an other game for me. I have played many games against him and many teams. Its not about my rivalry with Symonds or Hayden.

Its just about a game of cricket and hopefully I’ll enjoy the most and hopefully win the game for Mumbai.”

Asked whether he was happy with his bowling form, the feisty off-spinner said, “I’m always happy, whether I bowl well or not. I play the game because I enjoy the game. There will be a time in the tournament when every bowler will go for runs, so there is no need to panic.”

Harbhajan felt reducing the time-out period to two and half minutes in the tournament from the seven and half minutes was a good decision.

“This two and half minute is better than the previous one where you could really get out of touch. Seven minutes was a pretty long wait. I think this is a very good concept.”

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