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CSK all-rounder says his team went after the MI pacer despite his early breakthroughs
By Akshay Manwani
Bengaluru 24 May 2012
Dwayne Bravo best reflected the mood in the Chennai Super Kings camp. The all-rounder was all smiles and overcome with joy as the defending champions thrashed the Mumbai Indians in the eliminator of the DLF IPL 2012 Playoffs. It wasn’t an easy win for CSK, though. They had been forced on the back foot by a double-strike from Dhawal Kulkarni in just the second over of the match. However, Subramaniam Badrinath and Michael Hussey put on a 94-run stand for the third wicket to dig CSK out of that hole. After that, MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo thrashed the MI bowlers, Kulkarni included, at the end of the innings to power the team to a match-winning score of 187.
iplt20.com caught up with Bravo for an exclusive chat following the 38-run victory posted by CSK. A terrific win for CSK, coming back to score 187 after being reduced to two for one early on. Your thoughts on that?
Obviously. This game was a must-win game; if we lost we were out and that was it. Mumbai [Indians] are a very good team. They had us on the back foot up front, but we bat fairly deep. We have a lot of experience. So we backed ourselves, myself and the captain [MS Dhoni]. We said once we bat the 20 overs, obviously, we will get a good total, which we can defend.
Where did MI bowlers go wrong because even after the initial breakthroughs they had kept you down to 61 in the first 10 overs?
It was not where they bowled wrong. You have to give to credit to the way Mahi [MS Dhoni] batted. Hussey in the middle there, Badrinath and then obviously myself coming in at the end. We just backed ourselves. We knew [Lasith] Malinga was a key bowler, so we didn’t try to be aggressive with him and lose our wickets. We tried to target the other bowlers. Obviously, Dhawal bowled well upfront with the new ball, but he is very inexperienced. We knew we could take him down, target him and get a total that we could defend.
You spoke about Badrinath. One gets the feeling that he is CSK’s go-to-man when the side is in trouble?
It’s always good to have someone like him on the team. If you look at our team, we are very flexible. Badrinath is our floater in the team. We set the batting order according to how the game is going. We need to give credit to Mahi and the coaching staff for that.
You play the Delhi Daredevils next on May 25. What do you make of them?
Another good game, another fantastic team. We are looking forward to playing at home. Hopefully, we can get another win and go through to the finals. Is the thought of winning three successive IPL titles playing on your mind?
We’re just enjoying our game, playing free and enjoying the challenge ahead of us.
After the match, iplt20.com had a brief chat with MI all-rounder James Franklin, who although disappointed, was gracious in defeat. He even hailed the breathtaking partnership between Dhoni and Bravo that took the game away from his team. With the benefit of hindsight, Franklin also admitted the team should’ve done some things differently.
What went wrong with the bowling after a superb start?
CSK was just too good for us. We had a fantastic start by getting two early wickets but they rebuilt fantastically. There is not much you can say about the way MS played, it was something sensational and he is always the guy who steps up on the big stage. We started well with the bat but we lost too many wickets in the middle and like I said CSK was just too good for us today. CSK have always done well in these big, must-win games. Did that play on your minds?
We knew that it was going to be a tough game as they have been the champions for the last two years. They probably thought that they were lucky to be here so they had nothing to lose and they showed what a champion side they are. I wouldn’t be surprised if they reach the final and end up winning the whole thing. They have a lot of big-match players and they showed that today.
With Dhawal Kulkarni and RP Singh swinging the new ball, wouldn’t it have been better to give them one more over each in the beginning?
That is the captain’s judgment. But yes, had we got one more wicket at that stage, we’d have been well and truly into it. Michael Hussey and Badrinath played well and they got CSK into the position where they could launch in the last seven to eight overs. You can look into the game and say that we could have done this, but we got outplayed today. How is it to bowl to Dhoni when he is batting like that?
It is very tough. When someone is getting 50 off 21 balls, it’s impossible to bowl anywhere. Maybe we should’ve have bowled a lot more short balls to him. He dominated us and hit the balls into the crowd. The road ahead for MI is to qualify for the 2012 CLT20. Time to focus on that?
There will be a review amongst the management of the MI in the coming weeks. They will plan out what the best is for the team, and hopefully, we put our best fight there and try and retain our title. Is there a lot of difference between the IPL and CLT20?
IPL is a longer tournament and it’s about peaking at the right time. We got here but missed the final hurdle. Hopefully, we can come back much stronger in the Champions League. In the IPL there is lot more planning as you play the same teams over and over. In a way IPL is a tougher tournament, but we are out of it and we have to focus on the CLT20 now.