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Just a couple of hours before the start of play, the city of Hyderabad witnessed a slight drizzle that left the streets wet and the locals running for some cover. The thousands in the crowd who had thronged the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium on Wednesday too had to run for cover, not because of the drizzle, but because a certain Suresh Raina was dispatching the cricket ball to the stands with utter disdain.
When Suresh Raina bats, and bats well, there are few people who fail to admire the display of sheer brilliance in his stroke-play. The left-hander fell one short of yet another century in the tournament but along withMichael Hussey put up a 133-run partnership for the second wicket to take CSK to a mammoth total of 223 in twenty overs.
Chennai Super Kings registered a 77-run win against the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the end of the day and remained at the top of the table. CSK’s most economical bowler of the day, R Ashwin in his chat with IPLT20.com talks about Raina’s innings and CSK’s comprehensive victory. Below is an account of the interview.
How would you describe Suresh Raina’s knock today?
It was a good knock. It was one of those days where whatever he touched turned into gold. There is not much you can do with describing a batsman’s innings like that, because it happens once in every three or four games where a batsman gets away like that.
You have seen Raina play all these years, what has he done to be such a consistent performer for CSK?
There is no point in looking at what he has done. Every player in the side has a personal preparation to do through the tournament and everybody looks to improve at different aspects of the game. This format of the game is something that Raina has always enjoyed and it has brought him a lot of success. He relishes this format and goes through his shots and probably his carefree attitude is what takes him there.
As a bowler, how would you have approached bowling to a batsman who is going hammer and tongs?
In T20s, if a batsman gets going and has the momentum with him, he can get going. It is very tough to stop a batsman when he is in that kind of mood. As a bowling unit you need to apply yourself and get your fields right and get the batsman under pressure. When I turn up and bowl to Raina in the nets, I just look at how I can get him out.
Did the team work out strategies to bat on the Hyderabad wicket, especially after the poor batting display against the Mumbai Indians in the previous game?
We were not focusing much on the wicket or the scores in the previous games here. Against the Mumbai Indians it was almost as if the team had not turned up for the game, we did not bat very well.
We thought we will just apply ourselves, see the ball closely and put the bad balls away and work the others through the gaps. We are quite a good side in terms of maneuvering the deliveries into the gaps and picking up the twos and threes. We focused on that and we executed our plan really well.
Do you think SRH could have got to the total of 224?
224 was 50 to 60 runs too many. I think 160 was probably a par score here, and even then they got 146 on the board. If it was 160-170 it could have probably been a different ball game and probably this was the best wicket that we played on here..
Purple Cap and Orange Cap holders in the team, just shows CSK’s consistency isn’t it?
According to us Purple and Orange Caps do not mean anything to us. To take wickets or get runs, you need that opportunity. We do not look at the Purple Cap and Orange Cap aspect of the game. It is very pleasing to see two guys from our side having achieved it, we enjoy each other’s success and company but that is not something that we focus on.
Does a Michael Hussey give advice to Suresh Raina or any other team-mate on how to bat or share his views on different aspects of the games?
I think all cricketers are very professional who go about their own duty. They make sure that they do not interrupt anybody else’s preparation. They do not go out of the way and tell you what needs to be done. When you go and ask them, they are more than willing to help. By just seeing the way they perform, the way they go about their work, ethics, those are the things that you try and learn.