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Their bowling has been the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s bane in IPL 2012. They have struggled to pick early wickets and have left their star-studded batting line-up with too much work to do. When they prepared to take on the Mumbai Indians at Wankhede, the stress was clearly on not allowing the opposition to get off to a flying start. With that in mind, they rattled the MI top order, leaving the hosts in tatters at two for two.
And it was Vinay Kumar who picked up both those wickets, in the first over that he bowled.
After RCB’s nine-wicket win, he spoke to iplt20.com about the importance of the win given the net run-rate scenario. He also mentioned how the pressure of having to win all their games is bringing out the best in the team.
This was a convincing victory for you guys, but every match from this point forward is a must-win game.
It was a very important game for us and we pulled it off. Now we stand in the fourth place on the table. It’s really good.
Sometimes, is it a blessing in disguise to be in a situation where you have to win all the games?
Yes, it is. We were in a similar position in South Africa and we won six or seven games in a row from there. We know how to come back from such [a] situation and we are taking each game as a knockout game. RCB have struggled with the ball, especially in the powerplay overs. Was special stress put on changing that today?
In the last few games, we were not getting wickets in first six overs, and we discussed this a lot in the team meeting. We got it right today, in a very important game. I was glad to pick two wickets in my first over. This wicket does a bit in the initial overs and becomes a very good batting track later on. We were lucky to get early wickets.
You are just back from the injury. Are you happy to get your rhythm back?
I have been bowling well, but in this format sometimes even if you bowl well, you get hit for runs. Due to a small niggle I couldn’t play the last game. I am happy to come back in a crucial game and perform well.
You have been paid one million dollars for a season. Does that put extra pressure on you to perform?
Sometimes it does play on my mind. However, if you keep thinking about it, you just can’t do well. People often write derogatory [things] on Twitter about a player not deserving the money he’s been paid. They don’t understand that it’s very easy to comment from there but being a bowler and performing is very difficult in this format. Even Dale Steyn – world’s best bowler – went for 23 runs in an over in the last game. I don’t think much about the amount I have been paid, I just go there and try to give my best.
The team management investing so much in you also shows the faith they have in your abilities. Does that push you to improve further?
For first three years, I was with RCB and then went to Kochi [Tuskers Kerala] and now I’m back here again. It’s nice to be home and it’s good that the management is supporting us.
RCB haven’t done too well at home.
I would say that IPL is a rollercoaster ride. You can’t really predict the result of the game, so you just have to give your best. We lost a few games at home, but now the team morale is high and we are aware of the fact that we have to win all the matches to make it to the playoffs.
You’ve played out some close games. Is the team happy to win one convincingly?
There have been a lot of last-over games in this IPL, but we won this game with 12 balls to spare. This win will help us with our net run-rate as well.
515 Runs scored by Chris Gayle in IPL 2012. Apart from taking the Orange Cap from Virender Sehwag, he also became the first batsman to cross the 500-run mark.
37 Number of sixes hit by Gayle in IPL 2012. This is more than the fours (33) he has hit!
10 Number of man of match awards won by Gayle. Only Yusuf Pathan – with 11 awards – is ahead of him in this respect. 9 RCB’s victory margin of nine wickets against MI is the biggest for any side in IPL 2012.
6 Number of fifties by Chris Gayle in IPL 2012 – the most by any batsman. He went ahead of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag’s tally of five fifties. 6 Number of scores in 80s made by Chris Gayle in the IPL – the most by any batsman. Brendon McCullum and Shaun Marsh are second with three each. 0 Number of wickets Lasith Malinga took in this match. This is the first time he went wicketless in a game in IPL 2012.