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The last time the Pune Warriors India met the Chennai Super Kings,Steven Smith’s late charge saw them home in a last-over thriller. In their return game in Chennai, Smith was faced with a similar situation; but this time, he couldn’t finish the game. Smith lost his wicket in the penultimate over after threatening to take the game away from CSK with a 44-run partnership with Angelo Mathews.
After PWI’s 13-run loss, Smith caught up with iplt20.com and expressed his disappointment over getting out after scoring a cautious 21-ball 23 and failing to see his team through. You finished the last game against CSK from a similar situation. Do you think you being there a little longer would have changed the outcome of the game?
Well, it was quite a similar position in the previous game. I think the other night the wicket was little better compared to this one, as it was a little tough to clear the fence. I did my best, but it didn’t come off tonight.
The other day, the Chennai Super kings chased down 205-odd runs on this wicket. Do you think the bowling was good to restrict them to 164?
Yes, I thought we did quite a good job [and] dragged them back in the middle there. You know it’s a pretty close game. I guess 13 runs was quite close. We worked hard, and hopefully, we keep playing well in the coming games. What do you think turned the game in CSK’s favour today?
There openers played pretty well and hung on to the wicket. That helped them build a good total, and their bowlers defended well.
The last loss against RCB was a pretty close matter. Did that affect the team’s performance today in some way?
In the game against RCB, we won 38 overs and they took the game away in the last two overs. Players like Chris Gayle can really take it away from you, and he did that. Tonight, we put in our best effort, but weren’t quite good enough. Your team got off to a good start, and now you have two losses in a row. Will that affect your momentum?
I don’t think so. We are still playing good cricket. As long as we try and improve every game, that is definitely a good step forward to the rest of the tournament. We all are pretty new and starting up as team. If we keep working hard as a team, we will get the best outcome as a team. You have been in good nick in this tournament. Do you fancy batting higher up the order and getting some more balls to play?
I would like to have a crack up the order, but Sourav [Ganguly] sends me down the order, and do the job there. I have been playing okay in the tournament and would like to bat up the order. Let’s see how it goes in the next couple of games.
Why didn’t you bowl?
I haven’t bowled yet in the tournament. Bowlers are doing a pretty good job, and if spinners come to play in a game, hopefully I’ll get to bowl. How is it playing under Saurav Ganguly, one of the best captain’s India has produced?
He has been very good to me. He is obviously a great leader, and the presence he brings in the group is really good. Hopefully, he fires in the couple of these games and gets us over the line and leads from the front. He has been working really hard, and hopefully, he comes good in the upcoming games.
S Badrinath has been a crucial cog in the Chennai Super Kings’ batting line-up over the past few seasons. The veteran Tamil Nadu batsman has played the role of anchor to great effect. In IPL 2012, he found runs hard to come by in the first few games, that is until he was promoted to open the batting in the home game against the Pune Warriors India.
CSK clinched another last-over win, by 13 runs, and a lot of credit goes to the opening partnership of 116 runs between Badrinath and Faf du Plessis. On a slow wicket, where batsmen had to work hard for their runs, Badrinath scored 58 runs off 48 balls with four boundaries and a couple of sixes.
Pleased with his contribution in the team’s victory, Badrinath spoke to iplt20.com about his batting form and about being back at the top of the order. How was CSK’s strategy different today as compared to the previous match in which you failed to defend a modest total?
I didn’t bat in the last game and today me and Faf decided to stay on as the wicket was slow and the ball wasn’t really coming on to the bat. We knew that if we have wickets in hand in the last five overs, we could easily score 50 to 60 runs. We got a good partnership going and we set a good target.
You chased down 205 on the same wicket against RCB. So did you think 164 was a defendable total?
The wicket was the same, but it didn’t play the same [way]. The ball was stopping and there was a little bit of inconsistent bounce. There was some dew in the latter part of the match and the ball started coming on. I think 160 was good on this wicket but due to the dew, it got a little easier for them in the second innings.
You must be happy to get some runs batting up the order.
Being a batsman in the team, I would definitely love to bat up the order. It was a good day for me, so I’m happy about it. It’s always good to get some runs under the belt and get myself going. Your role has been to be the anchor and let others go for the big shots. Is it the same this season?
I think my role changes according to the situation. When you bat up the order and play in the powerplays, it is important to go after the bowling and get some runs and set up a good base for the batsmen coming lower down the order. Having said that, we have a strong batting line up with some good hitters and my role definitely is not to go there slam bang, but [to] try and assess the situation and play accordingly. The last time Steven Smith stole the match from you. When did you think this match was in your grasp?
Till last over they were very much in the game. They needed 25 runs from two overs, and they would have back themselves to win it. They had lost five wickets, so we knew that they didn’t have enough wickets. We needed one more wicket to wrap up the match, and we got it in the 19th over bowled by [Doug] Bollinger.