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On Saturday evening, however, a team that is known to punch above their weight succumbed to a sorry batting collapse and hence, a seven-wicket defeat at the hands ofRoyal Challengers Bangalore. For RR skipper, Rahul Dravid, an evening that began with an overwhelming welcome from his fellow Bangaloreans, ended on a sour note.
There was another man in the Royals’ line-up for whom it was a homecoming. Stuart Binny, like Dravid, has played all his cricket at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium and is currently the vice-captain of Karnataka’s state side, captained by RCB’s bowler Vinay Kumarwho, incidentally dismissed Binny in the match.
After the heavy loss, Binny spoke to iplt20.com about the disappointment of letting go the opportunity to guide his IPL team to victory on his home ground. The dejection was bigger, given that Binny was batting beautifully on 33 off 20 balls when one wrong shot ended his innings.
RR is a team that has always punched above their weight. But this batting performance was way below par. Can you put a finger on one thing that went wrong?
What we spoke when we went out to bowl was that we will come hard at them. With these low totals you never know because they can get hard to chase at times. We just went out and tried to change the game a bit by getting early wickets. We got two wickets and brought ourselves back into the game.
As a team you are never short of fight. Is that the motto of the Rajasthan Royals?
Yes, we have always played our game like that. We always want to go out there on the park and produce something special. Sometimes – like it happened today – we will have bad days but we keep fighting hard.
A total of 124 was below par on this track. Was shot selection a major issue?
It was. Just when we looked like building a bit of a partnership, we lost a wicket and that kept happening at crucial times. We need to analyse at which stages we are losing wickets and try to avoid that.
The likes of you and Rahul Dravid have played on this ground all your life. You reckon the two of you should’ve stayed there and taken the team to a decent total?
After the start I got, I thought I will get a big score, but I lost my wicket at a crucial time. Since I had that start and the momentum was with me, I looked to get a kick on from there. This is my home ground; I’ve played here all my life. I was feeling really good but it just didn’t come off.
Were you disappointed with the shot you got out to (A top edge trying to pull a short and wide one from Vinay Kumar)?
Very! In hindsight I should have just looked for a single and tried to take on the other bowlers. Vinay was bowling well and I think I went too hard too soon at him.
How risky is it to have two extremely fast but erratic bowlers in the XI, especially against Gayle, Dilshan and AB?
It is something that if comes off on a day, it will look amazing. We picked Shan Tait especially to get the big guns like Chris Gayle out but it didn’t work out for him.
Was not this wicket a bit too slow for a Bangalore track?
It was definitely on the slower side today. I have played a lot of cricket here and the wicket generally tends to be on the faster side. When we went into bat we should have analysed and read the wicket better than we did. Once we got the partnership (between himself and Rahul Dravid) going, we should’ve realised that this is not a 170-run track. 150 would have been a fighting score.
On a positive note, Shane Watson has started to bowl now, and he also picked up a couple of wickets. How huge is that for the team?
It is big for us. It sets up the balance of our team nicely if Watto can come and bowl three-four overs. It gives us a lot of other options as well. Knowing that he’s playing as an all-rounder, you can sneak in an extra spinner if needed.
With the kind of cheers that Rahul Dravid got when he went out for toss, did you guys, for a moment, feel like you were playing a home game?
Rahul bhai is so big and is loved wherever he goes, and especially in Bangalore. The people here just adore him. It was lovely to play here.
RR won the Fairplay Award last year and are the frontrunners this season too. That is inevitable with a captain like Rahul Dravid, isn’t it?
Yes. He plays his cricket that way and it rubs off on the other members of the team as well. We are an aggressive team but we don’t take it over the top. We only look to play well.
In IPL 2013, the Purple Cap is changing heads more frequently than Chris Gayle is despatching the ball into the crowd. There is a difference of mere four wickets between the man at the top and the 10th position on the highest wicket-takers list.
In the gap of a day, the Purple Cap has left the Sunrisers Hyderabad’shat-trick hero, Amit Mishra and has moved to Bangalore to adorn the head of Royal Challengers’ Vinay Kumar. In what came as a double bonanza for the Karnataka medium pacer, his ascend to the top of the chart came by way of a match-winning 4-0-18-3 spell, against Rajasthan Royals.
In a chat with iplt20.com after receiving his Man of the Match trophy, Vinay spoke of the excitement that this contest of winning the Purple Cap has brought in among bowlers. He also dwelled into his journey so far in the IPL and how it has contributed to his growth as a bowler.
The purple cap is changing heads so often. Is it fun to have such stiff competition for it?
It is fun. Knowing that you are never too far from the Purple Cap motivates you to try harder to get there. It is changing heads right now but at the end of the tournament, I would like to have it.
RP Singh said today that he was jealous that you have it. He’s just three wickets away from you?
It is healthy competition. Without competition there’s no fun. We have quite a few bowlers in our team and we all keep competing against each other in a good way for wickets.
Would you rate this as your best performance in IPL 2013 so far?
I will rate the first game, against the Mumbai Indians in which I defended 10 runs in the final over, as my best. They had batsmen like (Ambati) Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik and (Kieron) Pollard batting for them at that time and to have won the match by restricting them was a very good feeling. I will not discount this performance. I bowled really well today. But that was more special because of the match situation.
From a young upcoming bowler, you are soon turning out to be one of RCB’s most consistent pacers. To what would you credit this growth?
I have come across many coaches and senior bowlers who have helped me become a better bowler. When I spent some time with the Indian team, people like MS Dhoni and others talked to me about my bowling. All those experiences helped me grow as a bowler.
When you were brought into the RCB team you were emerging as a first-class bowler. What changes has your bowling gone through after so many years of IPL?
The six years of IPL has helped me mature as a bowler, helped me develop the ability to thrive under pressure. Now when I face a pressure situation, I go in with confidence. In IPL if you’re not mentally tough you will not survive. You have to be smart, back yourself in crunch situations and keep evolving. In terms of my bowling, I tried the Malinga ball (sling-arm yorker) in the fourth season and got Chris Gayle out with it.