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The Sri Lankan opener anchored the innings with an unbeaten 76 after the visitors were invited to bat first by the Rajasthan Royals. On the other hand, de Villiers’ 23-ball 59 put them in the driver’s seat. After the match, Dilshan spoke about beating the Royals on their home turf after having lost to them in Bangalore.
Excerpts from his brief interaction with iplt20.com:
On whether today’s result was payback for their loss to RR in Bangalore.
Definitely. They beat us at home, so when we came here we wanted to beat them [on their ground]. I think it was a good team performance today. All three departments [batting, bowling and fielding] did well today and contributed for this performance. On their plans coming into the game given that RR have chased down similar totals and are a difficult side to beat at home
The plan was always to put runs on the board. 190 is not an easy [target to chase] against our bowling attack. It is an experienced attack with Zaheer Khan and Daniel Vettori, two very experienced guys. But the youngsters [also] did really well today. They bowled really well and did really well for these conditions; the wicket is not easy to bat on. [...]
On the change in the batting line-up and the way he anchored the innings
[At the] last moment Chris got sick, but that gave youngster an opportunity to bat in the top-order –Mayank [Agarwal]. I thought it was not an easy wicket to bat on for a newcomer. So since I got the start, I wanted to carry on into the 17th-18th over. And then AB [de Villiers] came in and hit big sixes and turned the game around for our team. Then we kept up the momentum into the last seven-eight overs.
On AB de Villiers’ batting
He is a great player, not just in the IPL but in world cricket. He is a finisher. Him batting with me also helped me as it took the pressure off me. I think he is a great finisher; it is a plus point for RCB having AB in the middle-order.
On whether getting Ajinkya Rahane and Owais Shah’s wickets were key
Definitely. They are in great form. Especially these two guys are batting really well. [...] Our bowlers bowled really well and according to the plan and it worked for us. Rahul [Dravid] batted really well, but it is still not easy to chase 190 runs when wickets are falling. But still I think our bowlers did a great job. On his performance in IPL 2012
I am waiting for my opportunities. This was my second match. I got a great start today. I want to keep going throughout the IPL.
41-year-oldBrad Hogg came out of retirement to play the shortest format of cricket. He was keen to play the IPL, and is glad to be a part of the Rajasthan Royals. The all-rounder started his journey back to cricket from the commentary box by first playing for the Perth Scorchers. This led to a call-up to the Australian team and then to the IPL.
He has been bowling consistently well in IPL 2012 so far. And although the Royals lost at home for the first time this season against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Hogg contributed by taking wickets of the dangerous Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal. Glad to be back on the field, the veteran cricketer reflected on today’s loss to RCB. He also talked about regrouping and making a comeback in a chat with iplt20.com.
Did RR have the confidence of chasing down 190-odd runs after having done it before?
We did have the confidence of chasing the total. I think when we look back on the game, we are very disappointed with our last five overs with the ball; myself included. It wasn’t of a professional nature. We are going to go back to the drawing board and have a look at that. At the end of the day, the five overs cost us.
Is the RR batting depending too much on Ajinkya Rahane and Owais Shah?
We have got a good top order. We have got Brad Hodge as well; [and Rahul] Dravid. So the top order has done extremely well over last seven games. If they are in-form, we can go with an extra all-rounder. As a bowling group, we didn’t do well [today], and we fielded poorly. [...]
RR was in control till about the 12th over of the RCB innings and then Ab de Villiers took the game the game away from you.
It was a fantastic innings [by de Villiers]. We fielded poorly, and when he came to the crease, we had a misfield off his first shot, which went [for] three and another misfield went for another three runs in space of four or five balls . You can’t do that with quality players. You have got to make sure you put the pressure on them. [...]
What about your performance in the match?
I have had a good run. Although I got two wickets today and getting Chris Gayle was special, at the end of the day, I would have preferred having none for 24 rather than two for 39. After opting to field first, up to what total did you want to restrict RCB?
We feel 160 was gettable on that wicket. The way we were batting, [even] 190 was gettable. But we put ourselves under a bit of pressure and [with the] big outfield here [it was difficult]. There spinners bowled extremely well; they slowed it [the run-rate] down [...]. We weren’t good enough tonight. We just have to move on and go to the drawing board and make sure that we get our plans right [in the next game]. The good thing about our team is we want to make sure we have got the right eleven players out there [...]. Whenever we sit and decide our team, we make sure that there are key senior players that are making that decision. So last few games, we probably got it wrong but that’s the way it goes.
You wanted to play in the IPL. Now that you are playing in it, how has it been for you?
It’s been fantastic. I have really enjoyed my time with the Rajasthan Royals. I am glad I got picked up by them. I have got a really good young group, and to be actually in the thick of the action rather than being in the commentary box, it is fantastic. It’s a different perspective of it and I am thoroughly enjoying it. We have got fantastic owners [...]. They have got a lot of support for us. And at the end of the day, it is disappointing that we haven’t won on our home turf. And that’s one thing that the Rajasthan Royals have been pretty strong with over the last five years, [that] is winning on their own turf. So we have got to make it right here at some stage.
What is it like to play cricket again?
I have been out for about three-and-half years actually. [When] I got the opportunity to go back and play Twenty20 cricket for my home state Perth, and I wasn’t going to knock that back. I am just glad that I have had a good run so far. And tonight was a little bit disappointing. [It was the] two balls [that] have cost me [heavily]; a no ball and wide, both went for [runs]. Two balls went for ten, which probably cost the team as well. [...] Other than that you have got to look at the positives. In the IPL, I have been bowling well and when you look back at it, the two balls have cost me tonight, [but] you sort of [have to] get on with that.
How does it feel when the crowd here is yelling “Hoggie, Hoggie”?
The Indian crowd has been fantastic, and if it wasn’t for the crowd we wouldn’t have a great spectacle and it would be quite boring for the players in the middle. And that’s one thing that the players are going to look out to when they are playing and performing out in the middle. It is not just about runs and wickets; it is also about entertaining the fans out there. So if you had bad day, you make sure you are still enjoying the fans because tomorrow is a different day and it will be your day tomorrow. [...]
Are you are enjoying being on the field more than being off it?
Yes, the atmosphere is one of those things. Being away from the game for three-and-half years and coming back you realise how special it is. And for all those players that are playing now, we do play seriously on the field. But you got to make sure you cherish and enjoy every moment, because once it is gone, those three-and-half-years [the time when you are not playing] are pretty ordinary. I wake up in the middle of the night still dreaming about the crowd here in the IPL, the cheering, the atmosphere and what not. I must have had nightmares where I woke up and thought I wish I was still playing; and it is great that am back here [on the field].