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VVS Laxman,Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir,MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina. Now, let us add Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting to that list of Ajit Chandila’s list of victims with the ball. He has claimed the wickets of some of the biggest names in the game by weaving his magic with the ball in first class cricket; but on Wednesday night in front of a huge crowd at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, Chandila lived a dream. A dream that, every bowler dreams of while growing up and watching cricket.
Chandila got the priced wicket of Sachin Tendulkar in the very first over of the match, and to top it up in his very next over pouched Ricky Ponting, walking back to the pavilion looking at the sky in dismay. Chandila, walking by the boundary ropes after the win; still reminiscing his moment of glory spoke to IPLT20.com. From taking pride of dismissing Tendulkar and Ponting to treating his RR captain Rahul Dravid like God to idolising Saqlain Mushtaq, Ajit Chandila says it all.
Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting are big names to have in your bag of wickets? It does not get better than this, does it?
It is like a dream come true for me. Taking the wickets of two legends of the game is like a double hat trick for me. I still cannot believe this has happened, I feel I am in some sort of dream. I just cannot express how I feel. My hands and feet are cold at the moment. As a bowler, I cannot ask for anything more.
Were you nervous when you walked in to bowl to Sachin Tendulkar in the first over?
Yes, I was really nervous when I had that ball in my hand. Before the match, I was advised by Narendra Hirwani Sir to stick to my line and length and vary my pace. He told me I am bowling to players of really high caliber, but asked me to be confident in my approach. I did as he said and I got the wickets of two of the world’s best batsmen. I have no clue what magic his words have on me, but I always do well when he talks to me and boosts my confidence.
What did your captain Rahul Dravid have to say when he tossed the ball in your hand?
Rahul Dravid Sir is like God for me. He just placed his hands on my head before the first over and said, “Ajit, you will bowl well. Just be confident when you are bowling and the rest will take care of itself.” Those words were in my head as I went to bowl. I am glad it worked today and I hope it works whenever I get a chance to play.
Going into this game, had you planned how you would bowl against a strong MI batting line up?
When our batsmen were scoring freely, I thought the wicket was really good for batting and sitting at the dug-out I was planning how to approach the game. I had planned to bowl slowly and vary my pace. It worked as I got the biggest scalps from the Mumbai Indians batting line up.
Do you think you have an added advantage because of your height?
Yes, I feel my biggest advantage is my height. Whenever I talk to any of the batsmen during the net sessions or during domestic tournaments, they always say that it is tough to read me from that kind of height. The biggest compliment I have got in my life is from Rahul Dravid when he said, that he has played the world’s best spinners throughout his career, but when he bats against me, it is tough to read my grip and read me through my release. Those compliments are still etched in my mind.
Which bowler do you idolise in world cricket?
I have always admired Pakistan’s legendary off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq and I have followed him since I was a kid. He has been a great inspiration for me.
If you were to choose between your hat-trick last year and the two wickets today, what would you choose?
You can take my hat-trick. These two wickets matter a lot more to me than my hat-trick last year!
92: Mumbai Indians equaled their lowest total in IPL. They had made an identical total against Delhi Daredevils at Mumbai in 2012.
87: The margin of defeat for Mumbai Indians - their biggest ever in IPL. Kings XI Punjab had beaten them by 76 runs at Mohali in 2011.
71.09: Ricky Ponting’s strike-rate in IPL – worst for any batsman facing at least 100 balls.
30: Dinesh Karthik’s score – his lowest in five innings this year. In comparison, skipper Ricky Ponting’s highest this year has been 28.
12: Number of times Rajasthan Royals have successfully defended a total of 170 runs (or more).
5: All five Rajasthan Royals batsmen scored runs at a strike-rate of 100 or more - second such instance in IPL2013. All five Kolkata Knight Riders batsmen had managed to maintain a strike-rate of at least 100 against Rajasthan Royals at Kolkata.