It was the old warhorses, skipper Adam Gilchrist, Azhar Mahmood et all, who egged the team on, concurred with Praveen Kumar, who then bowled the team to victory in the last over.
Although it was Kumar who got them off to a stupendous start with a wicket off the first ball with Adam Gilchrist plucking a brilliant catch out of the air and then calmly defended 11 runs in the last over, Mahmood bowled crucial overs in short bursts to keep the team in the game. Bowling from the other end, he accounted for the crucial wicket of Jacques Kallis that left the visitors reeling on one for the loss of two wickets. And the veteran all-rounder then returned to end the ‘on song’ Eoin Morgan’s innings that threatened to take the game away from the hosts, came back again to remove Debarata Das and finished with three for 21.
While speaking to iplt20.com after posting their first win at home of the season, much to the relief of the red flag bearers, a cheerful Azhar Mahmood lauded the team effort like a proud senior for pulling off a win.
Excerpts from the interview:
On the tight finish but good to get a win at home
Yes it is brilliant win. We didn’t play well enough. Our 157 was not good enough (score to have) on this pitch. But as a unit we bowled really well and we got crucial wickets at crucial times (in the match).
On the advice to Praveen Kumar who also kept his cool in the last over and what went on in the middle
It was tough for everybody. I used to bowl in the death, but Praveen hasn’t bowled in the death and I was telling him what to bowl and where to bowl because against tail-enders sometimes it is different as compared to the regular top and middle order batsmen. So you have to bowl differently so in the end we crossed the line (successfully).
The wicket of Kallis and sending back Eoin Morgan who is known to finish games
Both of them are quality players. Kallis is one of the best all-rounders in the world and Eoin Morgan, he is a finisher. I have played a lot of cricket against him so I know his strength and weakness.
I bowled in the middle when it was crucial to get a wicket so I came back and got a wicket for my team. So I am quite pleased with that after getting a duck.
On the highs and lows in the game
(Laughs) I don’t mind the ups and lows during the game if we are getting an end result like this. We are pleased and we are happy with that.
On Manpreet Gony putting up a all-round match winning performance in his first appearance for KXIP
Brilliant! He smashed the ball very well and that’s what we need in the lower-order and we were missing someone like him coming down the order and getting some quick runs so (we are) quite pleased with his performance and then he bowled really well as well. So he is a good asset for our team.
On the impact for a team to get a wicket off the first ball
Oh definitely it helps. If you want to win a game then you need to keep getting wickets and then getting a wicket on the first ball, one can’t ask for anything more.
On losing their way in the middle and areas they need to work on
There is definitely still a lot of margin for improvement. We have to bat well. We have been bowling well but we have to improve in all departments. Our fielding was very good today, but we need to bat and bowl well still.