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After Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Dravid had built a platform, Staurt Binny came in and whipped 40 off 20 balls to take the attack to the Delhi Daredevils. While the veteran Rajasthan Royals’ captain held-up one end, the tattoo sporting youngster smashed the ball off the park to tilt the match in the visitor’s favour. He specially singled out former team-mate Johan Botha for special treatment.
Although his bat flew out of his hands after nudging the ball to the boundary, Binny followed it up with a sweep to collect a six and another over long-off. His 55-run partnership off 28 balls with Dravid, before returning to the dressing room, was one of the key factors in RR getting off to a winning start in the Pepsi IPL 2013.
While speaking to iplt20.com after the exhilarating win, Binny recollected his innings and while reflecting on the game lauded Kevon Cooper’s efforts and also talked about Rahul Dravid’s magnificent innings and Brad Hodge’s leadership as they pulled off a five-run win.
Excerpts from the interview: You are a good hitter of the ball, but was it part of the plan for you to hit while Rahul Dravid was already anchoring the innings or were you just playing your natural game?
The plan was actually to go out and play positive cricket. It is not necessary to hit every ball for six but today I think it came off a bit the way I wanted it to go. But definitely the plan always will be to go out and play positive cricket and help my partner at the other end.
It was important to accelerate when you came in to bat and the over where both of you gleaned 19 runs off Johan Botha. Talk to us about that?
I think it is important to target a bowler in conditions like this. Especially when their left-arm spinner was bowling it was a bit difficult (to score off him). But, I had played Botha for a couple of years now so I knew the areas where he would bowl and once I got the first hit I thought I will capitalise in that over.
With the way the match panned out and ended in a tight finish, did you feel you were a 10-15 runs short having lost four quick wickets in the last two overs for six runs?
Yes definitely. I think we were 10-12 runs short. In a close game even one run is important so I think we have to bat our full overs and try and get our batsmen to bat and not let the tail-enders bat towards the end but I think by losing three-four wickets we put pressure on ourselves again.
Rahul Dravid’s innings, your take?
Unbelievable! To come back and play cricket as good as he is right now I think everyone would love to bat like the way he is doing. In twenty20 especially when the pressure is on in the first game and the nerves are a bit high he just came out and batted superbly.
Brad Hodge’s captaincy and holding your nerves in a tight situation, tell us what was it like in the middle? What did Hodge tell the bowlers and the team?
We came here last year also and we lost a close game. Hodge is a great leader and he has captained a lot of T20 teams in the past so he knew exactly what he was doing and he saw that we back ourselves in that situation and try and be as calm as possible towards the end of the game.
He is so experienced so I guess he was the best man for the job at that time. And (Kevon) Cooper I must mention bowled and absolute brilliant over towards the end which is under the pump most of the time.
He put up a similar performance last year as well?
Yes. That’s the kind of cricket he plays - he can hit a ball, bowl, field well. He is a brilliant package to have in this format.
Good to get off to a winning start and that too against DD, a team whom you had lost in both matches last year. Your take?
It is very important to get off to a winning start. I think when we go and play against the Kolkata Knight Riders in a day’s time the momentum is with us. We are not trying to come in from behind because we are starting as winners so we can go out and play cricket freely.
Do you feel that David Warner’s wicket was probably the turning point?
Yes. We dropped him twice which is not ideal in a twenty20 match especially if he is a guy who is scoring runs. But then again the run-out (happened), he had to give us a chance somewhere and we took one chance. We dropped two but we took one which was excellent. There were still big hitters to follow after Warner so what was the plan?
It was a bit tough. The wicket was a bit slow and especially with Cooper bowling Yorkers like that (it wasn’t easy to score runs). We had a better chance than them I guess but it was important that we finish the first four balls of the over without giving a boundary.
2: At 40 years 85 days Rahul Dravid became the second oldest to score a fifty in the IPL after Adam Gilchrist who scored a fifty at the age of 40 years 185 days for Kings XI Punjab v Chennai Super Kings at Dharamsala in 2012.
2: Last two games between these two sides at Delhi have been decided off the last ball. Last year Rajasthan Royals needed 12 runs off the last over and then 2 runs off the last ball. Delhi Daredevils managed to win by 1 run. Rajasthan Royals returned the favour this time though!
7: The number of wickets lost by two teams in last two overs of their respective innings while scoring only 17 runs. In the first 18 overs of the innings, the cumulative wickets lost by the two teams was only six – scoring 308 runs.
18: The number of times Rajasthan Royals were defending a target of 150 or more. They managed to win 16 of them (including one that went into the Super-Over).
50: The number of wickets taken by Ashish Nehra in the IPL. He became the 18th bowler to do so.