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Mohammad Hafeez was speaking with the media after the match © Getty Images

Raipur: Sep 14, 2014

Lahore Lions skipper Mohammad Hafeez feels his bowlers set the stage for victory over Mumbai Indians in their first qualifier of the Champions League T20 tournament, by restricting the opponents to a low score. He, however, also credited his batsmen for finishing the game well to post a six-wicket victory over the Mumbai side here yesterday at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium.

“Our bowlers did an outstanding job by restricting Mumbai Indians to 135 which was a chaseable score. It would have been difficult if they would have crossed 150 on this pitch,” Hafeez, leading the Pakistani side in the championship, said in a post match conference last night. “We were aware that their middle-order was weak in the absence of Rohit Sharma, so the plan was to get an early breakthrough. I think after good bowling, we finished off well with the bat. Earlier, the 50-run partnership between Ahmed Shehzad and Nasir Jamshed and then Umar Akmal’s brilliant 38-run knock,” he said.

On being asked about electing to bowl first after winning the toss, he said, “Looking at the pitch, we judged that it would be hard to face new ball. We were playing with four seamers who were exceptionally doing well. Besides, the Mumbai Indians were heavily relying on Pollard so we knew an early breakthrough will help to contain them and we did it.”

He further stressed that the team needs to continue the momentum after a good start in the championship. “To be very honest it’s a good sign. It’s a good win, but we are not here to get to this stage, we are here to play a good cricket to show the talent Pakistan has and looking after supporting each other in the tournament. We wanted to prove our skills and we just had good start,” he said.

“We would like to continue this momentum in the tournament,” Hafeez added. To a query about how friendly it is to play in India, he said, “It’s always great to come to India. We always love to come to India as a team, as a player. It’s a nation which loves and respects cricket. The?more you play, the crowd will support you more.” Lahore Lions will face New Zealand’s Northern Knights in their second qualifier on Sunday.

Complete coverage of Champions League T20 2014 here