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Utility man hopes MI pick momentum after one-run win over local rivals
By Hoshedar N. Gundevia
Pune 04 May 2012
Mumbai Indians haven’t quite reached their peak levels of excellence in IPL 2012; it has been a tough season for the franchise with injuries and patchy form halting their progress. But the tide seems to have turned with their latest last-gasp one-run win over the Pune Warriors India.
MI all-rounder James Franklin has delivered more often than not this season. His batting ability has seen him open the innings with Sachin Tendulkar while his bowling has been nothing short of competent. The utility man for the IPL 2010 finalists, Franklin considers himself entirely at the disposal of the team, willing to perform whatever role skipper Harbhajan Singh deems fit.
The lanky Kiwi spoke to iplt20.com after what he considered to be a vital win over the Pune Warriors India.
Do you see this close win as a turning point for the team?
We desperately needed this to get a little bit of momentum. We have won games and then lost straightaway; it’s good to win two in a row. To defend 120 was a hell of an effort by the bowlers and the fielders. We are really happy to get there. Did you sense a derby-like atmosphere at the ground?
They came to our home track and beat us convincingly there; it’s nice to win one on their home turf though it was a very tight game. The crowd here in Pune is fantastic and we can’t ask for anything more.
Did you feel you had enough on the board?
Yeah, we did. There was a strong chance, although we under-performed a bit with the bat. It wasn’t the best track in the world so it was a case of bowling nice and straight and forcing the batsmen to hit over and through the gaps. I think the bowlers did a great job by taking it right to the end. Do you think MI are peaking at the right time?
It’s very much one game at a time. We have got two wins in a row and we would like to make it three in a row. We have big games coming up; we still have to play KKR and RCB twice and we have got CSK on Sunday, so that’s the immediate focus. How would you describe your role in the side?
I bowled three overs in the last game and three today. Whatever job Harbhajan [Singh] wants from me, I will do my best. It [depends] on him whenever he uses me and I am willing to do whatever he wants me to do for the team.
Do you think you are still to find your rhythm as a team?
It’s been really patchy. We are still trying to improve and are working hard in the nets. Hopefully things start working really well and we can finish this campaign strong. What has your evolution from bowler to batsman been like?
I am still working hard on my bowling but I think my batting has taken over in the last few years. I have got a little bit older and a little bit wiser and realised that longevity in the game is batting and not bowling. I am trying very hard with the ball – I am definitely not what I was six years ago – but I still think I can bowl and take wickets.
2.00 Praveen Kumar’s economy – the best for any bowler in a four-over spell in IPL 2012. Dale Steyn had achieved an economy rate of 2.50 against Mumbai Indians on April 29.
4 Number of consecutive away games won by Kings XI Punjab. On the other hand, they have lost three consecutive games at home.
9 Number of times a side has ended a match on a winning note with a six in IPL 2012 – this was the first such instance for Kings XI Punjab. They were at the receiving end against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 18.
251 Number of sixes hit by Chris Gayle in Twenty20s. He became the first batsman to hit 250 sixes in this format. 407 Gayle’s run tally in IPL 2012. He became the third player after Ajinkya Rahane (458) and Virender Sehwag (445) to cross the 400-run mark in IPL 2012.