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Claiming the first hat-trick of IPL 2012, Ajit Chandila was instrumental inRajasthan Royals’ victory over the Pune Warriors India in a must-win game at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium. The tall off-spinner had a dream run as he returned with figures of 4-0-13-4.
After claiming Jesse Ryderand Sourav Ganguly, he completed his hat-trick with the wicket of the hard-hitting Robin Uthappa, and later, sent Anustup Mujumdarpacking. A visibly happy Chandila spoke to iplt20.com after winning the match.
Excerpts: You have taken the first hat-trick of IPL 2012 in your second match this season. Your thoughts.
It is a dream for every cricketer [to play this well]. I had dream that I should be able to do something on this platform that stands out. [...] The confidence that RR has given me, Rahul [Dravid] bhai and Monty [Desai] [the coach] have given, [has helped me].
Narendra Hirwani [former India cricketer], who is like a big brother to me, has taught me a lot. Whenever I have a problem or I am confused [I speak to him]. Today, Rahul bhai asked me to play on this big platform. The situation was such that we had to win the match and I was also under pressure [because] if I have got an opportunity to play in the match, I have to do well for my team. I spoke to him and he gave a lot of confidence. My [state team] Haryana has also supported me a lot to be able to reach here. I also spoke to my [HCA] secretary Anirudh Choudhary, and too he told me, “Play like you always do.”
What were you thinking when you were about to bowl the hat-trick ball?
I have taken a hat-trick before in Twenty20 cricket. So the only thing I was thinking about was to bowl my best ball. Robin Uthappa plays with me for Air India, so I know [his game]. So I thought of tossing it [the ball] up and entice the batsman into a cover drive. My plan was successful.
Of all the three wickets which is your favourite?
Dada’s [Sourav Ganguly] wicket.
Would you say this is your best performance so far?
Yes! I had a dream, and it is fulfilled today.
Did you feel that you had enough runs on the board when you came out to defend 170 runs?
We have a good bowling attack. Siddharth [Trivedi] is a good bowler and has always taken wickets for us. He is the best bowler in the RR team.
RR’s fielding has been very good today. Your thoughts
We have good fielding side. It is a part of the game to field well. Johan Botha, who is an extraordinary fielder, motivates us and tells us that if you do something extraordinary on the ground, it will be noticed. [...]
Is your team dependant on Ajinkya Rahane and Shane Watson’s batting?
It is a team effort. Until we don’t play as a unit [we can’t win]. All the eleven players have to perform their role. Of course, Shane Watson is a good all-rounder and his presence in the team has benefitted us a lot and his performances have helped us win. What is difference in bowling in T20 and bowling in the multi-day format?
I work and play for Air India which is the No.1 cricket team among the corporate, and so I have learnt a lot by being with them because we play a lot of 40-over games. We play a lot of Twenty20 cricket. And I have always bowled in the powerplay and death overs. So that has given me the experience and confidence [to play here].
How do you prepare for bowling in powerplays and death overs?
I always read the batsman and bowl accordingly. [...] I set my own fields.
What did Rahul Dravid say to you that gave you the confidence that you talked about earlier?
When I signed the contract [with RR], Rahul bhai said to me, “Ajit, if [Johan] Botha rests, then you will play.” That gave me confidence. [...] Botha is the captain of his team in South Africa in Twenty20, and me being asked to play in his place gave a boost to my confidence. The fact that I am being compared to Botha, gave me a lot of confidence.
“Outplayed” is the only way to describe Pune Warriors India’s loss to the Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium today. First, their blowers took a beating at the hands of the rampaging Shane Watson, who was complemented by the diligent Ajinkya Rahane. Then, PWI were spun out of the match as Ajit Chandila left them clueless.
However, there were a few valiant efforts by PWI players to keep their team in the hunt. One such effort was by Angelo Mathews, who claimed a wicket and tried to put up a fight with a 19-ball 23. Excerpts from Mathews’ brief post-match interaction with iplt20.com:
What would you have liked to restrict them to? Do you think the target was chaseable?
[Would have liked to restrict them to] probably 160 [odd runs]. [...] They got about 10-15 runs more [...] We just couldn’t get a good start. If we had a good start in the first six overs, without falling [losing too many wickets], really strictly one or two wickets [less] at least [sic] we would have got a bit closer. Then in the end, it was a bit too much to expect from the lower order.
What could you have differently while bowling?
Shane Watson batted brilliantly. You just can’t do anything when he bats like that. He just hits the ball out of the park. It’s not easy [to restrict him]. The bowlers could have done better. But when Shane Watson bats like that, we couldn’t have done anything.
What positives do PWI take from this season?
The start of the season was very good for the Pune Warriors. Winning four out of seven matches [initially] was fantastic. But the latter part [wasn’t as great]. From the seventh match onwards, we were lacking. [...] Not easy to describe, but we played poor cricket.
The bowlers bowled pretty well in patches and the batsmen started off brilliantly. [...] We have been out of the tournament because of the last few games. Overall, the batsman had a good run and the bowlers have also done a pretty good job. How has the IPL panned out for you?
It was fantastic! The crowds are amazing. We lost six-seven games in a row, but the Pune crowd is always behind us, [so] it is amazing. What is it like to play under Sourav Ganguly?
He is fit and running. He is a very good captain. He is probably one of the best captains that India has produced ever, so it was a good experience playing under him.