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CSK pacer lauds opener’s century against DD in Qualifier 2
By Hoshedar N. Gundevia
Chennai 26 May 2012
If there is a weakness, they’ll find a solution. The Chennai Super Kings were struggling to find a dependable frontline pacer in the early part of the season. In stepped Ben Hilfenhaus and the problem was solved almost instantaneously. The 29-year-old Aussie fit into the CSK team perfectly as he is steady, dependable and deadly on his day. Hilfenhaus quickly got into his rhythm and he now finds himself on the brink of another title.
The IPL 2012 final against the Kolkata Knight Riders will mark Hilfenhaus’ ninth match this season and he has shown enough promise already for CSK to bank on him in the future. Hilfenhaus had a brief chat with iplt20.com after CSK booked their place in the final against KKR. Excerpts:
It’s been an arduous road to the final. You must be relieved.
We had to wait for those few results to go our way, but at the end of the day, we actually got enough points to make it to the final. I don’t think in the last two games we have played any bad cricket. Humbling the Daredevils should give the team enough confidence heading into the final?
I obviously thought it was a big game for us; they [DD] finished on top so they have definitely played some good cricket to get this far. We knew we had to be on top of our game and I think with the bat we led the way.
It’s your first time in a final while playing for CSK. How does it feel to be a finalist?
It’s pretty exciting. I am enjoying it and it’s good fun; I am learning with every game and trying to improve myself as a cricketer along the way. Playing in these big games and the finals can only improve that.
How is MS Dhoni different from other captains you’ve played under?
He is very good and he is a fantastic leader and he has done it for a number of years. It is always nice to play under someone different and I get different ideas bouncing around. Every captain has got their own different traits, so you try and learn from different captains. Murali Vijay really stood out today. Did you see that coming?
It was amazing. He led the way with the bat today and put a decent total on the board. If you score 20 or 30 less, they wouldn’t have been in the same pressure and it would have made it hard as a bowling group [for us]. He was amazing and absolutely set us up. Only KKR stand in your way now. How do you assess their team?
They [KKR] have played some good cricket, so we will have to play well. That’s another challenge for us. So, we will sit and have a look at the possible make-up and see what we come up with.
CSK batsman feels his team has luck and form on its side ahead of final against KKR
By Hoshedar N. Gundevia
Chennai 26 May 2012
They persevered and destiny delivered. The Chennai Super Kingswere almost out of the tournament, but belief in their ability and a good slice of luck finds them a win short of claiming an unprecedented hat-trick of IPL titles. Faf du Plessisalready has an IPL title, but his contribution in the 2011 win was negligible. IPL 2012, on the other hand, has seen the South African flourish into a solid performer for the Super Kings. He has often carried his team’s batting in the initial stages.
The 27-year-old believes CSK were lucky to qualify for the playoffs, but have now begun to hit their stride exactly when it matters. Two-time champions, CSK go into the final on Sunday, against the Kolkata Knight Riders, with plenty of experience and a quiet confidence that brings out the best in them. Iplt20.com caught up with du Plessis after CSK’s commanding win over DD in Qualifier 2.
The final seemed a distant dream; now a reality. What’s the team’s initial reaction?
We are playing our best cricket now and it’s awesome. We struggled a bit before the eliminators but that’s something Chennai has done over the years, is play their best cricket in the big games and we are doing that at the moment. So, that gives us a lot of confidence before the finals.
Is making it count in big games in CSK’s DNA?
I think it comes from the leadership; [Stephen] Fleming is good with the big games and also MS [Dhoni]. MS has played in a lot of big tournaments and he has won the World Cup. So, he is pretty cool when it comes to that and most of the players now have the same feeling. Most of the guys in the CSK have been here for the couple of years and we have won those trophies, so when we get to this stage of the competition where it is now, we have got this sense of calmness and maybe the other teams feel a bit of pressure that we have won silverware. We just go there and express ourselves. How important is being backed by the team management?
As a player, the only thing you want is to be backed by the coaching staff and also the captain, and that was showed by Murali Vijay tonight. He has not had the best of seasons and it was like last year when he scored a century in the final. He played a flawless innings tonight and also showed the character he has. He is also a big-match player and he proved that tonight, and hopefully, he can continue this form to the final.
What is it like to be a part of this golden generation for you?
If we win this year and make it three in a row, it will take some time for any other IPL team to do so. It’s lucky if you win two in a row, and I have been involved with a side, which has won two in a row other than Chennai; but not three in a row. So, that will be an achievement or call it a golden era.
You thoughts now obviously shift towards the final. Are you eager or apprehensive against KKR?
I think they are the best team who can compete with us. DD is a very good side as well, but KKR has got some very good match-winners. They have got good spinners and they have a good pace attack as well and they have got world-class batsmen. I think it will be a really good final. What is it like for you to play under MS Dhoni?
It’s similar to Murali Vijay, according to MS’s standards he hasn’t done well as he would have liked as he has done every year. This season has been a little bit under par for him and he comes into the big occasion when we needed him against MI [Mumbai Indians] and he played a fantastic innings, and tonight again he played well. I think it’s good for his confidence before going into the final. All our big players are doing well and someone like [Suresh] Raina is also just around the corner of doing well. All our batters are in good form, and bowlers also.
Do you guys feel that you are destined to win three in a row?
Our confidence has grown and I was the first one to say that we are lucky to make it to the semi-finals. We shouldn’t have been here. But since we are here, the team’s confidence has grown massively. It’s starting to feel like that it is our time again for us to do three in a row. You definitely need luck in all sports and we have had a lot of luck, but now we are playing our best cricket and that is most important.