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After an indifferent start to IPL 2012, the Chennai Super Kings are once again playing like defending champions. MS Dhoni’s men defeated the in-form Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets to register two consecutive wins at home.
These victories also show that the team is finally coming to terms with the newly-laid track at Chepauk, which seemed to have robbed them of the home field advantage initially. CSK’s star batsman Suresh Raina caught up with iplt20.com after the match against RR and spoke about his team’s resurgence in IPL 2012.
CSK is getting back on track, and you are playing like defending champions.
We have been playing good and God has been really kind. We have been winning the close games. Faf [du Plessis], Badri [S Badrinath] and specially the bowlers have been outstanding throughout the last seven games. And hopefully, we will do well in the next couple of games as well.
Do you think the solid opening pair of Badrinath and du Plessis has been key to CSK’s success in the last two matches?
[Murali] Vijay has got a couple of chances, but he has not been doing well. Hopefully, Badri and Faf will, as they have been batting well, and [Michael] Hussey will come probably after three-four games and we have a good combination like what we have in last five editions of IPL. And still, we are getting better. We are putting scores on the board and we need to bowl really well; we need to execute the plan really well. Hopefully, next few games will be exciting for us.
In CLT20 2011, teams struggled to come in terms with the newly-laid track. How about now, are you getting an idea about how to handle the track?
It’s getting better. We have a lot of new players coming to the side, and Faf and Badri are opening for us and doing well. We have won four games, and hopefully ,we will do well in the upcoming games. CSK chased down 205 and last two games have been modest scoring games. What do you have to say about this?
I think this is the beauty of the game. We need to pull our socks up and play well, and hopefully, we will win our upcoming games.
The Rajasthan Royals have taken advantage of their tag of underdogs by beating strong teams like the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Their match in Chennai against the defending champions was the biggest test of their character. Although RR lost the game to the Chennai Super Kings, they fought till the end and took the match into the last over while defending a modest total of 147.
Ashok Menaria, who contributed with a 34-run cameo and bowled two overs for 10 runs, expressed his satisfaction with RR’s effort in a post-match interview with iplt20.com.
Are away games are still a problem for the Royals?
There is no such thing. We played in Bangalore and won there. Also, there hasn’t been a single match which we have lost convincingly. All the matches we have lost were stretched to the last over. I think we are playing better than ever.
Does forcing a batting line-up like CSK’s to take a 147-run chase to the last over give you a lot of confidence?
Definitely. We managed to stretch the game till the last over even after not having a par score against such big a team. [That] has boosted our morale.
After winning the toss, what did you think was a good total on this wicket?
We didn’t have a total on our mind. We thought we would play according to the wicket. And I think it was not a bad total, but just a couple of misfields here and there. And we couldn’t capitalize in the last few overs. How was the wicket playing – CSK chased down 205 the other day, and the last couple of matches they chased 164 and 147 [today]?
Wicket was a bit slow and ball was keeping low. It’s difficult to play on such a wicket in a T20 game. If Faf [du Plessis] wouldn’t have played so well, the match would have been ours.
Was their opening partnership the turning point?
Not the opening partnership, but their opening batsman [Faf du Plessis] took the match away from us.