Birthday boy Sachin Tendulkar praised Andrew Symonds, with whom the Indians were involved in a racial row three years ago, for his fine batting show in Mumbai Indians' IPL match against Deccan Chargers, describing the Australian as "champion batsman".
Rohit Sharma and Symonds stitched 102 runs for the unbroken fifth wicket stand to take Mumbai to 172 for four, which turned out to be winning total.
"Davy Jacobs gave a very good start (with a 20-ball 32) and then we lost three wickets (at same score of 70). But Rohit batted fantastic and Symonds was batting like a champion," Tendulkar said after his side beat Deccan by 37 runs.
"172 was a good total but I feel we were short by 20-25 runs. Rohit and Symonds batted in different styles but the champion batsmen they are they took to a challenging total after we lost three quick wickets," said Tendulkar, who turned 38 on Sunday.
Mumbai Indians have been shaping up as the best fielding side in the IPL under the guidance of former South African star Jonty Rhodes and Tendulkar was pleased with another fine show today after a similar performance in their last match.
"I thought our fielding was brilliant. There were a couple of run-outs we had effected and Davy Jacobs producing a great stumping. We have to follow up the good performance in the remaining matches," he said.
Mumbai Indians have played five matches in 15 days and Tendulkar has no complaints though he said he would have loved to have breaks.
"If you are a 38-year-old it is good to have breaks, may be not for a 19-year-old. We have two youngsters in the team. But to plan for an entire tournament is not an easy job.
"You cannot have every team playing every second day. There will have to be times when you play three games in six days and then you get two games in 10 days. But that is the beauty of this tournament. You adapt to different situations and you learn different things along the way," said Tendulkar.
Deccan captain Kumar Sangakkara said his bowlers failed to bowl the right line and length at the death of the Mumbai innings and the late onslaught by Rohit and Symonds had taken the game away from his side.
"172 was gettable but they should never have got to that much. We were bowling very well till the 16th over but the 60-odd runs in the last four overs by Rohit and Symonds took the game away from us.
"Rohit and Symonds hit the loose ones out of the park. Our bowlers erred in line and length at the death overs. We talked about it but we failed to execute our plans," he said.
"Our start in the run chase was not too bad but we lost wickets regularly and had two run-outs. Trying to score 13-14 every over off guys like Lasith Malinga towards the end is very tough," said the former Sri Lankan captain.