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The Chennai Super Kings have made a habit of playing out last-over thrillers in IPL 2012. While more often than not, their array of stroke-makers has rescued them, the strategy of leaving it for too late backfired against a resurgent Kings XI Punjab side.
After the defending champions failed to chase down 156 at home against the underdogs, their in-form opening batsman, Faf du Plessis, admitted they allowed the opposition to sneak back into the game.
On a positive note, the South African batsman spoke enthusiastically about his own form in the tournament and revealed how the IPL has helped him discover the opening batsman in him.
Here are the excerpts from du Plessis’s exclusive interview with iplt20.com: The team is making a habit of playing out these thrillers. This time, it didn’t go your way.
It’s bound to happen. We were quite fortunate on winning those couple of close games and you are not always going to win them. The wicket was a bit slow today, and on another day, on a better wicket, we would have got it. Having said that, we should have tried to do something different and tried to finish it earlier with them having two good death bowlers, and the wicket being on the slower side. My goal with the new ball was to try and attack as much as possible. Talking about your batting, you had to wait the entire last season and you are making it count this time.
It’s worth the wait. It’s awesome for me to get an opportunity to bat up the order. I love the opening role ,and I hope I continue my good form.
Since you’ve been joined by S Badrinath up the order, the opening pair looks very settled. What’s your take on that?
It’s a very important combination to have, as with the new ball being hard, we need to be aggressive as openers. I and Badri complement each other very well. Murali Vijay is also a great player and he has proved that over the years for CSK. But at the moment, I and Badri are really batting well together, and I think we put the bowlers under pressure.
Has playing in the IPL enhanced any areas of your game?
I’ve grown as an opener. This is the first time I am opening for CSK, and [first time] ever in my career. Every time I go there, I am starting to understand what is needed, when is the time to go normally and when is the time to attack. It’s a learning experience for me, and I have learnt a lot and hoping to learn a lot more. How does having a calm captain-coach combination of MS Dhoni and Stephen Fleming help?
That’s the thing I look for in a captain and a coach. They are always calm and never panic, which is great for the side. That’s why CSK has done so well over the years.
Did you know that you missed the Orange Cap by one run today?
Did I? Never mind. I wasn’t going to feel it anyway. I am sure some other guy would have taken it in the next game. Hopefully, I can score some more runs in the next game. But for me winning is a more important thing.
Chris Gayle and Kevin Pietersen have hit 19 sixes so far and you are second with 16. Your thoughts on that.
I am normally not in that company. If you would have asked me couple of months before the IPL, I would have not taken it seriously. But it feels nice to be in their company.
1 Delhi Daredevils batted first for the first time in eight matches in IPL 2012.
1 Delhi Daredevils became the first team in IPL 2012 to win both home and away matches against the same opponents.
2 Mahela Jayawardene and Virender Sehwag became only the second pair of openers to register individual fifties in IPL 2012 – Faf du Plessis and S Badrinath of the Chennai Super Kings had each scored fifties as openers against the Pune Warriors India in Chennai on April 19. 3 The first three batsmen – Mahela Jayawardene, Virender Sehwag and Kevin Pietersen – scored 50s in Delhi Daredevils’ innings. This was the first such instance in the IPL and only the fifth in all Twenty20 games. 3 Sehwag became only the third player to score three consecutive fifties in IPL 2012. Prior to this, he had scored 57 and 87* against the Pune Warriors India in back-to-back matches. Sachin Tendulkar (in IPL 2010) and Jacques Kallis (in IPL 2011) are the other two players to accomplish this feat.
4 Thisara Perera became the fourth substitute fielder to take a catch in IPL 2012 when he caught Irfan Pathan – Earlier TM Dilshan, LA Pombersbach and DJ Harris had held catches as substitute fielders. 6 The Blizzard-Tendulkar duo was the sixth opening pair employed by the Mumbai Indians in eight matches!
8 Virender Sehwag won his eighth Man-of-the-Match award. Now only Yusuf Pathan (11) and Chris Gayle (9) have won more awards than Sehwag. 15 Number of overs taken by the Delhi Daredevils to score their 150 – fastest in IPL 2012.
25 Balls taken by Kevin Pietersen to reach his fifty – fourth-fastest in IPL 2012 after Owais Shah (19), AB de Villiers (21) and JP Duminy (24)
73 Virender Sehwag’s innings is the highest by any batsman in Delhi Daredevils-Mumbai Indians contests, surpassing Sanath Jayasuriya’s 66 at this same ground in IPL 2008.
135 Runs added by Mahela Jayawardene and Virender Sehwag for the first wicket – the highest partnership for any wicket for the Delhi Daredevils against the Mumbai Indians.
142 Runs scored in boundaries alone in Delhi Daredevils’ innings – 22 fours and nine sixes – most in a team innings in IPL 2012.
273 Number of boundaries (fours & sixes) hit by Sehwag in IPL – 199 fours and 74 sixes – most by any batsman. He went ahead of Adam Gilchrist’s tally of 271 boundaries (187 fours & 84 sixes).