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This man knows a thing or two about chasing totals. In the final of the previous edition of the IPL against the Chennai Super Kings, it was a fairytale moment for Manvinder Bisla who took a packed Chepauk by surprise with his free flowing stroke play. Bisla had scored 89 off 48 then, in a run chase that not many would have given the Knights to come out trumps.
This year, with his back against the wall, and just 34 runs in his previous five outings, Bisla had a point to prove, that the opener in him was very much alive. He stitched together two crucial partnerships in KKR’s run chase of 150 against theKings XI Punjab on Friday at the Eden Gardens and led his side to a convincing six wicket victory.
In an exclusive chat with IPLT20.com, Bisla speaks about his match winning unbeaten half century and his admiration of teammate Jacques Kallis. This win should come as a relief after a series of loses isn’t it?
It was a very important victory for us. We were a bit low after three consecutive losses, but we were very positive about a comeback despite three losses. We had the belief in ourselves that we will go out there and perform today. I am glad we won and this is only the beginning of better things to come.
Personally, how crucial was this game for you to perform after disappointing scores in the previous matches?
I did not do well in the first phase of the tournament and it was important for me to get runs soon. I was disappointed with my performances in the previous games and wanted to get back my confidence in this game. It was important to get runs on the board. I went back to my basics, worked hard in the last ten days to get my game back and the hard work paid off.
How difficult is it for you to perform, especially when there is so much competition to get a chance in the playing eleven?
There is healthy competition in the side. No one is assured of a place in the side. When the coach or a captain feels that a certain player can do well in a certain kind of wicket, they give that player a chance and totally back him. It is not that a player gets one chance, does not perform and he is made to sit out. All players get a chance to perform.
Was there pressure on you when you lost your captain as early as in the second over of the match?
Gautam Gambhir is an important player for us. He is very consistent, but it is all about how the team plays at the end of the day. There are so many players in our side who can do well and are consistent. When Gambhir’s wicket fell in the very first over, we did not let ourselves down, instead we all shared the responsibility of taking our side through.
What was your plan when Yusuf Pathan followed suit off the very next ball after Gambhir’s wicket?
Losing two wickets back to back was a bit of a jolt. But the plan was to be at the wicket for the next five overs or so and steady the innings. I feel the way Jacques Kallis and Eoin Morgan played after that was brilliant. They eased pressure off me which allowed me to play freely towards the end of the chase.
Kallis is someone who tries to anchor you are more attacking. Did you make changes to your game when you were batting with Kallis?
I was playing according to the situation. I was struggling to start with and wanted to get my eye in. Kallis took pressure off my shoulders and so did Morgan later in the innings. I never felt I should play aggressively. I wanted to play through the innings and give good support to both the batsmen. Till the time both were at the crease, they were scoring at a brisk rate, which allowed me to settle down. I feel Kallis and Morgan were hitting the ball beautifully and a lot of credit should go to them to make the run chase look easy.
Last year, in the final you and Kallis chased down a total of 190 against CSK. And on Friday you brought up a crucial partnership with him. How is it batting with someone like Kallis?
I feel Kallis is a very attacking player. He has played a lot of crucial knocks for us this season and in the past as well. I am batting with Kallis for the third consecutive year. I love batting with him and enjoy the time at the crease alongside him. He keeps it simple and makes batting look easy. To watch him bat from the non-striker’s end is a delight and it gives me confidence to bat well when I am taking guard.
Do you think KKR can make it to the top four?
We are not thinking of the final four at the moment. We would like to take it one step at a time. We have not won the games we should have and made it a bit difficult for us, but the more wins we get under our belt, the better we will get and the closer we will get to the final four.