New South Wales captain Simon Katich has held the team's middle-order responsible for their seven-wicket loss in the Champions League Twenty20 in Chennai on Saturday, saying they failed to take advantage of Cape Cobras' numerous fielding errors.
Opting to bat first, NSW wasted a brisk start from their openers -- Shane Watson (34 off 29) and David Warner (20 of 13) as they were restricted to 135 for eight by Cape Cobras at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Asked if NSW batsmen had failed to adapt to the situation, Katich said, "We had a very good start, and were also helped by some pretty sloppy fielding from them (Cobras). But we didn't make the most of that and lost wickets regularly through the middle.
"We didn't get any substantial partnerships through the middle of the innings."
Both Warner and Watson were dropped by the Cobras but they had failed to utilise the chances and departed when the Australian outfit needed them to capitalise on the good start.
Asked whether he regretted leaving out experienced pacer Stuart Clarke out of the playing eleven, Katich said, "It's a tough one. Stuey (Clarke) hadn't probably done all the work that's required, like you know training and other stuff."
"The rest of the guys have done a fair bit of work over these last three months. It is always a tough call to leave someone of his quality out," he added.
The NSW skipper backed his bowlers inspite of their poor show and said he was not disappointed with their efforts.
No, I am not really, because credit to (Herchelle) Gibbs and Richard Levi up front, they put pressure on us during the powerplay overs. Defending 136 was always hard with the sort of start they got. Unfortunately, we weren't up to the mark," Katich said.
"Initially, I thought anything around 150 was going to be a pretty good score. But (after the match) I think anything over 160 would've been better," he added.