Royal Challengers Bangalore all-rounder says team is beginning to hit its stride
By Akshay Manwani
Mohali 21 April 2012
Having had a slow start to the tournament, where they lost three of their first four games, the Royal Challengers Bangalore now seem to be getting back on the winning track. They registered their second successive victory of the tournament against the Kings XI Punjab on Friday night. The star of RCB’s win was Chris Gayle, who once again left the opposition stunned with a 56-ball 87 that helped his team overcome a wobbly start (25 for three in 5.1 overs) and post a five-wicket win while chasing a score of 163. Andrew McDonald, who replaced Tillakaratne Dilshan in the RCB playing XI for this game, spoke of Gayle’s sensational innings in an exclusive interview with iplt20.com
After the initial setbacks, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers played brilliantly to bring you back in this game.
They both are fantastic individual players. Chris and AB both have a found a bit of form. The batting unit joined together nicely and we had quite a good result with the ball as well today. We’re starting to get the wheels in motion and starting to put some good performances together. And anytime Chris bats like that, we will be on the winning side. It’s fantastic to watch him bat.
You said it was a good all-round performance, but didn’t you give away too many runs at the end – 93 in the last 10 overs?
That can happen in a game of cricket. The pressure was on them to score. Azhar Mahmood finished the innings really, really well. The plans that we tried didn’t quite work, so next time we will come up with better plans. I think when the game is set up like that for someone like Azhar Mahmood to come in at the last four overs, the overs are going to be expensive at the end. But we did some good work early to make sure it wasn’t a 180-190 score. That’s the whole package of 20 overs; there are going to be some expensive overs at the backend of the innings and sometimes at the frontend. It’s just a matter of containing it when it does happen.
Don’t you think not having a sixth bowler also hurt you a bit at the end?
There is a sixth option. Chris is finding his fitness and he gives us an option with the ball. Dan [Daniel Vettori] decided not to use him today. I thought the bowling group, as a package, did a fantastic job to maintain 160 on that wicket, which, probably at the start, wasn’t a 160 wicket. But the way it played, it was a pretty good track. So, we’ve still got some options up our sleeve. Obviously, we would like Chris to be bowling, and once he starts bowling it adds a sixth bowler to the group. I suppose you could call it a concern [not having a sixth option today], but if we can keep most teams to 160, we will go a long way in winning the games.
Was this the ideal Twenty20 wicket as it had something for both the bowlers and the batsmen?
It’s a fantastic ground. This is the first time I have ever played here. The outfield is lightning and the wicket has good pace. There is a bit of bounce in it, a bit of grass, a bit of movement for the new ball bowlers. It’s a good cricket wicket.
You now play Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur on April 23. You lost to them on April 15 by 59 runs. Will you return the favour this time?
Hopefully. They found a bit of form early in the tournament. I think they play Chennai [Super Kings] tomorrow. I’m not sure what’s going to happen there. If we can get a win on the road [that would be great]; the road trips are the most difficult. We had four games at the start in Bengaluru and probably didn’t capitalize on that. If we can pinch a few away wins, that will go a long way in getting those eight or nine wins to making it to the top four. Hopefully, we will roll over Rajasthan and get two from two on the road.