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Prajakta Pawar in Delhi 24 April 2013 - 03:07am IST

Getting Sehwag out early was the key: Harmeet

Bowler says reading the wicket correctly helped

Although they came into the match against the Delhi Daredevils with a hard fought, nerve wracking win, Kings XI Punjab had yet to win back to back games in the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013. But, ahead of the match coach Darren Lehamann had said that they hoped to make it two in two at the Feroz Shah Kotla. 

And although he did not reveal them, he had mentioned that they had plans for sending back the dangerous Delhi Daredevils opener Virender Sehwag who had won the hosts their previous game. The coach’s wards executed their plans to a nicety and set up a second consecutive victory by restricting DD to 120 runs and importantly sent back the dangerous Sehwag early.

The bowler in the spotlight who claimed the prized wicket of Sehwag was Harmeet Singh Bansal. Back on the field after almost a year, his last match was at the same venue against the same opposition in May 15, 2012, the pacer put in a match winning performance. The 25-year old finished with three for 24 in his quota of four overs.

Holding his nerve he removed the important cog in the DD line-up. Speaking about the plan to get Sehwag’s wicket he told iplt20.com, “Our plan was not to give width to Viru bhai and bowl stump to stump and that’s what we did and that was what caused him a bit of problem I think.”

Elaborating on the plans for removing the DD opener, David Hussey added, “The plan was just to bowl in the good areas. Everybody knows he is one of the best players in the world. Today he hit some of the most amazing shots you will see and we were just lucky to get him out for 20-odd runs.”

Speaking about the nerves and preparation ahead of the game, Harmeet said, “I was told in the morning by the team management to be ready to play. So I was ready and felt that I might get a game and then when we came to the ground they confirmed it. I was focusing since morning. I was a bit nervous because when Viru bhai (Virender Sehwag) is in front of you, one will be nervous and especially because of the innings that he played in the last match scoring 95 runs. Seeing that knock anyone would be nervous. But it was important for me to read the wicket. It was a double paced wicket so I bowled accordingly to Viru bhai.”

But, did they expect to restrict the star studded Daredevils line-up to 120 odd runs? Harmeet said, “We saw in the beginning, the wicket was bit double paced, the ball was stopping and coming on and we bowled a little quick in between too. So it becomes a bit difficult for the batsmen to score runs. We were thinking that if we could restrict them to 120-130 runs it would be good and obviously Viru bhai’s wicket was very important so I think because of that too we could contain them.”

Having bided his time, the youngster was keen to get a day in the field and hoped to make it count. “I was a little frustrated that I wasn’t getting matches. I had sat out for six matches so I was waiting to get an opportunity to get a game. I was always ready to play when I got the chance. And today when I got it I delivered well,” he said.

The senior cricketer were full of praise for the pacer. Lauding Harmeet’s performance, Hussey said, “He was superb. Hardly missed a beat with the training and to get the Man-of-the-Match in your first game back is pretty sensational.”

The team drew confidence from their previous win but did take a fresh guard against DD. Speaking about the boost Hussey said, “Always when you have had a close fought win, a very high scoring win, it gives your team a lot of confidence. The way our bowlers bounced back after the last game, it was just sensational tonight and hopefully we can keep the winning momentum going.”

Harmeet said, “Yes ofcourse it helps. We have won two in two so the confidence is really high and will now be looking forward and working towards the next game. But when we came out to play today we had forgotten about the previous match because every game is different and the wicket here is different from Mohali.”

“When we go from here for the next game we have to put this behind after celebrating the win and focus on the next match.”

The team has found their footing and will be looking forward to carry the momentum ahead. The seniors and the captain have played a vital role in regrouping and binding the team together. Crediting his captain, Harmeet said, “He (Adam Gilchrist) is the kind of captain who will even motivate a player who is very low. He is a very good captain during the match and off the field as well. He tells us what to do. His experience obviously helps.”

Hussey added, “Gilly is leading so well on the field, he is tactically very, very smart. He brings everybody together.”

Speaking about his own role, Hussey who stood in as captain in a few matches last year said, “I am sort of a fielding captain. I bowl a couple of overs, sneak in couple actually and bring the over rate down and hopefully score a few runs in the middle as well. All our batters are firing at the moment and hopefully that continues.”

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