We scored crucial early points: Vijay

Chennai Super Kings opener says his team played well to qualify for playoffs

By Akshay Manwani
Bengaluru 22 May 2012
The Chennai Super Kings qualified for the DLF IPL 2012 playoffs after the Royal Challnegers Bangalore failed to win their last league match against the Deccan Chargers. Since both CSK and RCB were tied at 17 points at the end of the league stage, the former edged the latter for the final playoff spot due to their better net run-rate. CSK opening batsman, Murali Vijay, however, insisted that the team had picked up points early in the tournament and there was no question of the side making it to the top four purely on luck.

Vijay spoke to in an exclusive chat shortly before his team was to leave for it’s practice session at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

How is the mood in the camp given that you just about managed to scrape through for a place in the playoffs?

We took our points early. We didn’t win against Kings XI [Punjab] in Dharamsala and so we were a little low in confidence, because that was a very important match for everybody. But we were there. We had 17 points. It’s not that we were lucky. We were just hoping that things would turn up our way, and it did. We are a good side and everyone knows that. Now we are in an awkward state; it’s a matter of one game at a time. Anything can happen and we’re just hoping for a good performance.

Is there any extra pressure because you have to win every game from here to win the title?

We have been this situation several times. We are a very strong unit because anybody can win matches for us. That is the ability we have in our setup. We’re looking forward to the challenge.

You lost both your league games to the Mumbai Indians this season. How do you reckon things will play out this time?

Maybe that will motivate us a little more. They are a very good side, there is no doubt it. But we are only thinking of doing things to the best of our ability. It will be a good contest, to be frank, and I’m just hoping for a win.

Do you think that in a high-pressure match like this it is probably a good idea to bat first?

It doesn’t matter really. If you play on your home ground, perhaps it matters a little bit. But in a knockout game, whether you are chasing or setting a target, you just have to win the match. I think that’s our attitude.

Can you tell us which two Mumbai Indians players could make the biggest difference between the two teams?

Obviously, Sachin [Tendulkar]. Everybody knows him and what he can do. [Kieron] Pollard is also another important guy in their setup because he can bowl a bit and he can really whack the white ball. But we have our things sorted. We are looking forward to the challenge

What about Dwayne Smith?

Everybody is a good player, to be honest. Ambati Rayudu has been brilliant for them. Rohit Sharma is batting brilliantly. A lot of their players are in form. They have a good bowling setup as well. It’s going to be a good contest, that’s for sure.

You came good in last year’s IPL final with a match-winning knock. Can we expect the same from you in this do-or-die game as well?

Sure. It’s a challenge for me personally. I am hitting the ball well at the moment. I’m just looking forward to a match-winning performance where I can contribute and it can help the team in a winning cause. I’m just really happy and excited that we are in the knockouts. It’s just one game at a time now.

You have also qualified for Champions League Twenty20 after making it to the playoffs. Your thoughts on that.

It is a great tournament. To make yourself available for CLT20 is something great because you can play with the teams coming from abroad who are unknown commodities. It’s a good challenge for us fringe players to participate in that tournament.
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