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You would be one disappointed KKR fan had you been there at the packed Eden Gardens on Saturday. Imagine a fan, with his KKR headband on, waving a KKR flag expecting one crazy game of cricket between two power houses in the tournament!
Sadly the fans had to return back home only with memories of their side’s suicidal collapse after a good start and a sense of satisfaction that KKR fought well.
Yes, KKR did manage to pull things back and looked full of intent while defending a modest 120, but it was the men in yellow who finished the game off in their favour, courtesy yet another Ravindra Jadeja cameo registering a four-wicket win. Lakshmipathy Balajiwho got a well set Michael Hussey out in the seventeenth over and brought back hopes in the KKR dug out felt, the team made little errors in the game that cost them the match.
Balaji also took pride in the way his team fought right till the very end and believed the side will come back stronger. Here are excerpts from the chat with IPLT20.com after the game.
Did you feel 120 was a defendable total on that wicket?
I think in T20s you need to have a good score to defend. When you are batting first, you should make sure that the side gets a comfortable score after assessing the wicket. Had we got fifteen runs more on the board the outcome of the match could have been different. But, having said that it was our job to defend whatever we had on the board.
The team was scoring at close to nine an over at the end of five overs. It was a shocking slide after that?
We made very basic errors today. Our basics weren’t strong enough to hold the game till the end on the batting front. A couple of crucial important partnerships would have definitely changed the course of the match, but unfortunately we did not have partnerships after the good start we got from Gautam Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan. Every 15-20 run partnerships are important and that is where we fell short and let it slip away. We will go back and analyse what we did wrong and comeback hard in the next game.
What was the team talk while walking out to defend the low total?
We had to make sure we did not give them the easy singles and build pressure on them all the time; which is what we did. We kept it tight till the 16th over and we thought the match was in our favour. They got the big shots out towards the end and luckily for them it worked. We had to believe in ourselves and we kept fighting till the very end, which was very important. It was great to see the boys diving around; showing a lot of hunger and commitment to defend a low total.
Was it a plan to bowl out Sachithra Senanayake in the first half of the match?
Senanayake has been doing really well for us over the last two matches. We thought it was best for him to bowl in the first phase of the match. He executed his plans, but unfortunately could take only one wicket. He definitely built pressure on CSK and that is what took the match till the last over.
Did Ravindra Jadeja take the game away from KKR?
I feel it is a team sport. Not one individual can take the game away from you. I feel Michael Hussey’s innings was an important one as he kept the scoreboard ticking even though he was losing out on partners at the other end. Then Jadeja came and finished the game well. I feel we were a little behind the finish line.
What are the positives you take from this game?
I think we did not give any easy runs in the first fifteen overs and we take it as a big positive. CSK had to earn every run and it wasn’t easy for them to score runs off us. We were looking more intense in the first half of our bowling, but maybe we were not good enough to execute our plan towards the end. There is a good fighting spirit in this dressing room and definitely that should help the team’s cause in the games to come.
257.14: Ravindra Jadeja’s strike-rate in the match (36* off 14 balls) – best for any batsman facing at least 10 balls in a match in IPL 2013.
174.62: Jadeja’s strike-rate in IPL 2013 – best for any batsman facing at least 50 balls in the tournament. Fellow team-mate MS Dhoni is second with 159.78 78.43: Mike Hussey’s strike-rate – worst for any batsman in IPL in an innings of 50 balls or more. Kolkata Knight Riders’ Manoj Tiwary had a strike-rate of 90.19 (46 off 51 balls) against Kochi Tuskers Kerala in 2011.
50: Number of matches won by MS Dhoni as a captain in IPL – first player to do so.
2: Number of times Jadeja has scored 25 runs and taken 3 wickets in a match in IPL. He now joins Yuvraj Singh, Shane Watson and Kieron Pollard in doing so most often.