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Standing by the boundary line, with his hands folded and chest held high was Dayanand Cheedi; assistant to the chief coach of Hanuma Vihari who saw one of his favorite students collecting the man of the match award in the post match presentation ceremony.
A smile donned his face; his eyes bore tears of joy as the hard work and sweat put in by Vihari all these years had finally paid off. “I knew one day his dedication and sincerity would bear fruit,” said a visibly happy Cheedi to IPLT20.com
“You should see him at the throw downs, you should see him practice. The amount of hard work he puts into his game, is worth admiring. He is a work horse. He would bat for hours, take throw downs from me and ask me for advices on his game. His chief coach John Manoj would be a happy man today.” explained Cheedi who has worked closely with Vihari over the years and was eagerly waiting to congratulate the young lad from Hyderabad.
For Vihari, it’s a dream come true. May it be being amidst the best cricketers and sipping a hot cup of tea or longing for advice on his game from the legends; Vihari is cherishing each and every moment in the IPL.
“I did well in the domestic season for Hyderabad and the owners chose me to play for the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Normally you don’t get chances in the IPL, but am fortunate enough to be playing here. I never thought before the IPL that I would be sharing the dressing room with the greats of cricket. It is like I am living a dream. I am blessed to have got such an opportunity.”
And when Vihari got his opportunity, he sure made the most of it. He got to bowl his first over in the IPL, in the second over of the match between the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Royal Challengers Bangalore. What was to follow, neither the crowd nor Gayle nor Vihari himself would have expected as he bagged the big fish in the bag. The gentle off spinner had done the trick; Chris Gayle was out for 1 and it was a big blow early on for the RCB. Not surprisingly, the nineteen year old cherished the moment whole heartedly.
“It is a dream come true for me to get Chris Gayle’s wicket. Getting the wicket of the best T20 player in the world in the very first ball is special for me.” Vihari also said that it was a special plan devised by the team to get the destructive Gayle out.
“It was our special plan to bowl spin to Gayle early in the innings. We noticed that he had stuck around in the first six overs in the previous match and then went big towards the end. So the team think tank took a chance by bowling me to Gayle in the very second over of the match. I am glad I got him out and our plan worked.”
When asked if there were some nerves in the dressing room during that one over thriller, Vihari calmly said, “I was confident that we would win when Thisara Perera and Cameron White put up 20 runs in the one over eliminator. White and Perera, both are huge hitters and they set up the target perfectly which I thought would put even a destructive batsman like Gayle under pressure. Plus we had a world class bowler in Dale Steyn against whom it was always going to be tough to score against.”
Vihari indeed looked a confident man after a man of the match performance as he picked up a wicket in the only over he bowled throughout the match and scored an unbeaten 44 of 46 balls to keep the Sunrisers’ hopes alive. “The wicket was double paced. I knew I had to bat till the end if my team had to cross the line. It was important for us to keep the wickets in hand till the end so that we could chase down the target.”
Like any other budding cricketer Vihari wishes to represent India one day. But at the moment his focus is purely on the IPL. He was the show stealer for the Sunrisers’ Hyderabad on a fabulous Sunday night, and playing in front of a huge crowd indeed felt special for the nineteen year old. “It is always special to play matches like these in front of a huge crowd. These are matches that I will remember for the rest of my life.”
“I dedicate this performance to my mother and all my coaches without whose support I wouldn’t not have been here talking about my performance,” said the shy Vihari while signing off.
Barely a week into the tournament and the IPL has already sprung up nail biting moments, last over finishes, excitement and edge of the seat thrillers to the fans all over. Such was the case at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium in Hyderabad, as the twenty five thousand plus capacity crowd witnessed one of the most exciting finishes of the tournament.
Feet went cold, there were shivers down the spine, sweat on the forehead and the mouth went parch as the match between the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Royal Challengers Bangalore went into a one over eliminator. Earlier, the Royal Challengers Bangalore had scored 130 runs in their twenty overs and the Sunrisers in their reply could manage only a tie.
One of the most respected spinners in the world, Muttiah Muralitharan spoke exclusively to IPLT20.com after the match, sharing the mood in the dressing room during the one over eliminator, and throwing light on the game overall.
When nails were being chewed and some of the players in the RCB camp were still disappointed with the loss, Muralitharan in his casual self, wearing a calm look said, “It was a fifty-fifty game. Both teams could have won.”
Murali also told, that there was no sense of nervousness in the camp when the match went down to the wire. When Thisara Perera and Cameron White walked down for the one over showdown, Murali said that the RCB were confident of chasing anywhere close to fifteen runs. “Actually we thought if we could restrict SRH to less than 15 runs, we had a good chance because we had the likes of Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli who could chase it down. It was going to be tough to get twenty in one over.”
Though Vinay Kumar; who bowled the pressure cooker over was hit by Cameron White for two sixes, Murali said, Vinay had done a good job. “Vinay bowled really well. He had picked up a wicket in his four overs previously with a good economy. Unfortunate that he bowled a no-ball in the very first delivery of the one over eliminator. But that is how it goes, you have to put it behind and look forward.”
Look forward, they have to as they face the same opponents on Tuesday, but this time at RCB’s fortress. The game might have gone the Sunrisers’ way here in Hyderabad, but Murali insisted that their bowling had to be appreciated for defending such a low total. “I think we bowled really well to restrict them to 130. As such 140 or 150 is a par score here according to me. We bowled well and picked wickets regularly, but unfortunately it went to a tie and they got the better of us in the one over eliminator. They won the match, they got the results and we can only look forward from here.”
Murali also reserved his special mentions for Moises Henriques who scored a 40 ball 44, stitched a 43 run partnership for the fourth wicket, the highest of the RCB innings and also picked up two wickets.
“I think Henriques played really well and his bowling also came to the fore in this game. He is a big addition for us in the team. AB De Villers is on the way and our team will only get stronger in the games to come.”
Muralitharan, just like the man himself, looked confident of RCB’s progress in the games to come; and when asked as to what keeps the forty year old Lankan going even at this age playing the fastest and the shortest format of the game he quipped, “I enjoy my cricket and want to continue giving my best.” A parting shot with a gentle smile on his face.