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The win was possible because of a nerve-racking, unbeaten 122-run partnership between Ambati Rayuduand Kieron Pollard at a run-rate of 11.26. Rayudu dominated the partnership with his first match-winning innings. He finished with an undefeated 81 off 54 balls that included six fours and four sixes.
The Man-of-the-Match was all smiles after the win, which has taken MI a step closer to the playoffs. He took time out to talk to iplt20.com about the match and striking form with the bat at the right time.
What a time to play this knock!
It was an important knock as getting over the line was very important.
When you and Pollard came together, what was the talk between you two?
We were sure that if we bat throughout the 20 overs, we could pull it off. We are happy that we chased the total down.
Talk about your partnership with Pollard.
We both have had lot of experience batting together since the third season [IPL 2010] and we are good friends even off the field.
Do you think the team is peaking at the right time?
I don’t want to comment on that. I am happy that we are getting over the line. MI have played some really close games in this tournament. Did that experience help you handle the pressure in this game?
This season, the other teams have got a lot better and they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses as teams. We have been pushed to the limits and haven’t got anything easy. We are happy to win the games. You couldn’t have picked a better time to strike form.
I am not too sure if we have qualified for the playoffs yet. We would just like to keep it simple and focus on the next game.
What did Sachin Tendulkar tell you when you returned after winning the match?
He had told me during the match that if I bat for 20 overs, I’d win the match. When I returned, he caught hold of me and said, “I had told you so”.
Did your eyes light up when you and Pollard saw Chris Gayle coming in to bowl the final over?
We knew that they will have to bowl a non regular bowler and we were happy to see him bowl. I did not want to take a single off the first ball, but it hit my leg and that was disappointing. I am happy that Pollard finished it off, but I would have loved to finish it off.
TheRoyals Challengers Bangalore had the match in their grasp when they got three top-orderMumbai Indians wickets with very little on the board. However, as the innings wore on, the bowling started to struggle and eventually the pressure got the better of them. They lost the thrilling match by five wickets.
After being inserted to bat by Harbhajan Singh, RCB got off to an equally disastrous start, losing Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli early. Even as the MI bowlers maintained their stranglehold, a couple of good partnerships took the hosts to a formidable total of 171. The biggest contribution came from young Mayank Agarwal, who has played some eye-catching cameos right through the tournament. With his side in distress, Agarwal stood up and scored 64 off 30 balls, coming in at No.6. He stitched a 46-run partnership with Tillakaratne Dilshan as RCB made amends for the bad start.
After the lost the match, Agarwal was dejected and heartbroken. He, however, was kind enough to speak to iplt20.com about where the team went wrong and put on a brave face in defeat.
What went wrong in the last few overs?
I think they played good cricketing shots and they were lucky as well. Many outside edges went for fours and the aerial shots fell in no man’s land. How did the conditions change through the span of the match?
I think the wicket just got better for batting and the new ball was doing a lot. For us Zaheer [Khan] and Vinay [Kumar] bowled extremely well with the new ball. Later on, it got easier to bat on as there was due also and the ball was coming on straight on to the bat.
Personally, are you happy to convert your start into a big score today?
I’m happy with my batting, but would have been a bit sweeter if we would have won. It’s a part of the learning process. I would like to keep myself in a good form. Where do you like to bat?
I have said it before; I will bat wherever the team requires me to bat. You just have to adapt to the different situations and I like batting in both positions – in the top order as well as lower down.
This loss has put a huge pressure on the team now, with a tough away game against the Delhi Daredevils coming up.
It’s just playing good cricket on that particular day. We have lost a close game and it depends how we react to this. We have to look up to the next game and come back fighting rather than feeling sad about this game.