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It was an off day for the Kolkata Knight Riders as their bowlers were blown away by Dwayne Smith, handing them a five wicket defeat at home.Sunil Narinewas the only bowler who looked like taking wickets and indeed ended up with three in his bag.
For 23-year old Iqbal Abdulla who was playing his first game this year in the IPL, things did not quite go the way he would have liked it to. But Abdulla is a man full of belief and self confidence, who looks to gain as much as possible from his team-mate and mystery spinner Sunil Narine. In this interaction with IPLT20.com, Iqbal speaks about his team’s loss against Mumbai Indians, bowling in the nets to Jacques Kallis, Gautam Gambhir and about the belief that he would one day be a great bowler.
Your first game this season; are you sad that you couldn’t make it count?
I had a good start. And we knew it was crucial to get quick wickets at the beginning. Sachin Sir also got out, but I guess Dwayne Smith played some good shots to get his side off to a flying start.
In your opinion, was 160 defendable, especially with the kind of batting lineup Mumbai Indians possess?
See, we play as a unit and as bowlers it is our responsibility to defend whatever total is on the board. We were playing at home and we always had the confidence in our bowling. 160 was defendable on this wicket. It is just that we did not pick wickets at regular intervals.
Do you feel the wicket was easier to bat on in the second innings?
The way the Mumbai Indians batsmen played it definitely looked like the wicket was getting better. Kieron Pollard played a crucial innings after Smith’s dismissal, but it was Harbhajan Singh’s six in the last over of the match that sealed the game for them.
There would have been a lot of pressure on Rajat Bhatia to bowl that last over. What was the team talk at that time?
Rajat Bhatia had bowled well in the innings and we felt he was ideal to bowl the last over. He even got the wicket of Pollard off the very first ball of the last over and we felt we were in the game at that time. Unfortunately for us, Bhajji hit the ball for a six and we lost the game. Such things happen, but we need to come back stronger in the next game.
But Dwayne scored the maximum runs off you in the run chase. What went wrong?
I feel it was Dwayne Smith’s day today. I had bowled the second over of the match wherein Smith could score only one off me. There was even a small chance off the third ball that could have got him out; luckily he was saved just by an inch. I guess had we got that wicket, it would have been a different result.
Was bowling difficult, especially after the rain before the start of the match?
Because of the rain, the ball was getting wet just a bit and it was difficult to grip the ball. Apart from Sunil Narine, I guess Senanayake and myself could not extract as much spin from the wicket.
How is it bowling with Sunil Narine. Has he shared any tips with you?
I am working a lot in nets to get more variations in my bowling. I have been working closely with Sunil Narine and I hope I get success from his advices in the matches to come. Whenever Narine bowls in the nets, I try to read what he is doing and where he is pitching the ball. It is a natural gift that Narine has so many variations. Obviously I will not become a great bowler immediately but I am trying my best to grasp as much as possible.
Have Gambhir and Kallis given you special advice on spin bowling from batsmen’s point of view?
I enjoy bowling at the nets and bowl according to match situations. I try to implement them in the games as well. I do get a lot of tips from Jacques Kallis and Gautam Gambhir. Gambhir speaks to me a lot and the only message he gave me was; the day you read the batsmen, you will become a great bowler at that time. I have the belief in myself that I will become a great bowler one day.
2: Number of IPL matches Sachin Tendulkar has played on his birthday. The other was against Deccan Chargers at Hyderabad in 2011. Sachin could score only 28 and 2, but Mumbai Indians went on to win both the games. 3: Number of sides to employ more than one captain in IPL 2013 – Mumbai joined Pune Warriors India (3 captains) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (2 captains) by giving captaincy reins to Rohit Sharma. 7.83: Harbhajan’s economy in the tournament – worst for a spinner bowling five overs or more in the tournament. 26: Runs conceded by Harbhajan Singh in the first over of Kolkata Knight Riders’ innings – second most expensive opening over in IPL history. Incidentally the record is also held by a Mumbai Indians bowler. Abu Nechim who had conceded 27 runs in the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2011.
42: Out of Lasith Malinga’s 88 wickets in IPL have been bowled! 50: Runs conceded by Sachithra Senanayake - the most he has conceded in a Twenty20 match.