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Kings XI Punjab finally opened their account in IPL 2012 with a win in front of their home crowd at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium here. Opting to field first, skipper Adam Gilchrist marshaled his troops masterfully. Led by Dimitri Mascarenhas, KXIP bowlers responded to their captain’s call and pitched in to help restrict the long batting line-up of the Pune Warriors India to a mere 115 runs.
In a post-match interview with iplt20.com, Harmeet spoke about the bowling strategy in the match today.
On whether KXIP had the advantage of playing at home
Yes, we did have the advantage of playing at home. Mohali has a green track, and it rained yesterday, so there was dampness and movement in the wicket. It was about pitching the ball in the right areas otherwise the ball was doing everything by itself. On Dimitri Mascarenhas’ performance with the ball
Today Dimitri was the man with the golden arm. His first two spells were such that, first, he got the first wicket off the first ball of his first over. He was in good form and was bowling with a good rhythm, so it was about hitting the right areas. He hit the right areas and so he got five wickets.
On the thinking behind having Praveen Kumar bowl his quota of four overs in one spell
Initially, the thinking was to get him to bowl his first three overs and keep one over for later. But then, Dimitri had picked wickets from the other end, so to build the pressure on the batsmen, so that we can take another wicket, PK was asked to bowl his full quota.
On his bowling and form
I am trying to continue in the rhythm in which I am right now. I have to just pitch the ball in the right areas and the wickets will come. On bowling coach Joe Dawes
It has been a good experience. He is a knowledgeable coach and he explains things very elaborately. He tells things based on the situation and the batsman [that you are bowling to], like when should you bowl a yorker to a batsman or a slower ball. He explains things like, in which overs [death overs, powerplays, etc] and what situations how should one bowl. On having played under Adam Gilchrist for Deccan Chargers and now for Kings XI Punjab
Gilly is a legend. His captaincy is very good. He knows and understands what field placements should be made in which situations and which bowler he should get to bowl to which batsman. I have had a good experience playing under him.
Faf du Plessis became a member of the Chennai Super Kings at the 2011 IPL Player Auction. He made his debut for his team in the first match of IPL 2012. His wait lasted 20 matches – 16 in IPL 2011 and four in the CLT20 2011. He warmed the bench, soaked in the atmosphere and wrote a few blogs on the team’s official website.
The moment finally arrived, against the Mumbai Indians, at the Chepauk on April 4, 2012. He opened the batting and was run-out off the second ball he faced. In the next two matches, he got starts – 39 and 15. He looked fluent with the bat, but failed to stay put at the wicket for a big score.
He was frustrated, but he didn’t lose confidence. As CSK were faced with a herculean 206-run target against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in their fourth match of IPL 2012, du Plessis walked out, determined not to lose his wicket. He ended up scoring a Man-of-the-Match-winning 71 off 46 balls.
However, it’s not the award that excited him but the thrill of being part of the nail-biting victory. “I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of such a victory. To chase down 43 runs in the last two overs needed something supernatural. And [for] Albie [Morkel] to just come and hit those sixes was amazing,” he said, his bright blue eyes sparkling with joy.
“I’d been hitting the ball nicely in the last two games and I knew that a big score was around the corner for me. I was feeling good, but was getting out softly. I knew I just needed to stay at the crease for a bit longer and runs would come.”
His knock will go down as one of the best in IPL 2012, given the circumstances and the opponents he was up against. He had to get the team off to a flier while Zaheer Khan, Muttiah Muralitharan and Daniel Vettori took turns to try and get him out. “As a boy and until a couple of years ago I was watching them on the TV,” du Plessis said of the three bowlers.
“The number of wickets they have got jointly in Test cricket is ridiculous.” He said of the Vettori-Muralitharan duo, the most formidable spin attack he has faced.
While he plonked the left-arm spinner for a couple of huge hits, du Plessis managed only eight runs off nine balls against the Lankan offie. “I was facing Murali for the first time and I had to look at the ball very closely. But I really enjoyed the challenge.” He eventually holed out in the deep off the wily spin wizard.
du Plessis also enjoyed considerable success against Zaheer, a reward for his courage and confidence to step down the track to the experienced left-arm seamer. “I had faced Zaheer before against India, and I knew that the only way I could get the better of a class bowler like him was by attacking him up front,” he said as he explained his tactics.
What also helped the attacking all-rounder build his innings was the knowledge that an array of quality stroke-makers like MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo, Albie Morkel and Suresh Raina were to follow. “We bat very deep. When I was batting, I knew there was a lot to come after me. That thought took the pressure off me. I just had to make sure I stay there and build a partnership,” he said.
During his knock, du Plessis shared a crucial 40-run partnership with Dhoni, which he thought was a “Nice learning opportunity”.
“We talked about the bowlers who we can take on. With Murali, MS told me, it was about being positive but not taking too much of a risk. I told him I’ll try and score off Vettori’s overs because the run-rate was getting really high. Fortunately for us, we got a few sixes going in that over,” du Plessis said while giving an insight on the conversation he had with his skipper between overs.
“Dhoni is just really calm. He’s done a lot in his career and is one of the best finishers in the world today,” he said.
Despite du Plessis’s efforts, CSK needed a daunting 43 runs from 12 balls. Morkel played the 19th over bowled by Virat Kohli and got 28 runs off it. The scoring in that over read 4, 6, 4, 6, 2, 6. The game changed then, and the hosts stole an incredible win from the jaws of defeat. Du Plessis hoped this is a turning point, which will take CSK all the way in their endeavour to defend their IPL crown.
“Games like this one, you’re not supposed to win. Knock like Albie’s is a massive boost to everyone’s confidence. Hopefully, it will mark a turnaround for CSK this season,” he said.