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On Sunday afternoon, all roads in Ranchi led to the JSCA stadium. Flags, headbands, coloured wigs, painted faces of the two sides (KKR and RCB) and whistles, were being sold on the streets as the City looked forward to hosting its first ever IPL game with a lot of anticipation. The stage was set for a crucial clash between two power houses, especially after a lot of on-field banter in their previous meeting.
RCB, after having put in to bat, could manage just 115 in 20 overs and KKR in their reply had a dodgy start. Manvinder Bisla was out as early as in the second ball of the chase. Captain Gautam Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan had gone back to the pavilion after cameos. When Manoj Tiwarycame in to bat in the eleventh over of the match, KKR needed another 55 runs withJacques Kallis holding fort at one end. Kallis needed a partner who could take the side through, and in Tiwary he found the perfect one. Kallis and Tiwary stitched together a crucial 35-run partnership to take the team closer to victory.
Tiwary might have ended up with a score of just 24 against his name, but it was a crucial knock, given the circumstances. Not surprisingly, Tiwary was a happy man as he spoke about his knock and the side’s five-wicket win to IPLT20.com.
After an on and off IPL this year, was it a satisfying knock for you?
It was a satisfying knock, but it just got better as we ended up on the winning side. It was more special because we won against RCB after we had lost against them the last time around. It was an important win, and we only hope that we carry on this winning momentum in the remaining games.
How difficult was it to bat on that wicket?
The wicket was two paced. It had bounce and some of the balls were also keeping low. It was challenging to play on the wicket.
After KKR were three down, what was the talk between you and Jacques Kallis?
We had a lot of overs to play with. We knew we were just two or three hits away from getting close to the target comfortably. That is exactly what happened. Kallis brought up two boundaries after the strategic time-out and then even I got a boundary that got us closer to the target. We took it till the end, which we did not want it to go to. But we had to have a cautious approach since it was a low scoring game which could have got much trickier.
Was there pressure on you to perform after an injury lay-off?
It is always difficult to comeback after an injury and it gets more difficult to comeback while playing in the shortest format of the game. You are expected to score at a brisk pace and you cannot take your time to get yourself set. There was a bit of pressure, but I am glad I performed.
What is your role in this KKR batting line-up?
I bat in a position wherein I have to look for singles, rotate the strike and hit the odd boundary when required. Against RCB it was a challenge for me to bat. I had to keep the scoreboard ticking; since every dot ball builds a lot of pressure. I am happy that the team won on Sunday. I have tried my level best to do well in the role that I have been given and my aim in the games ahead will be the same. I am looking forward to many more challenges like these in the future.
In his very first IPL season, RCB’s Ravi Rampaul has been a part of nail biting finishes, comprehensive wins and heart wrenching loses. His individual wicket tally has been an impressive 12 wickets from nine games.
At the JSCA stadium on Sunday against theKolkata Knight Riders, Rampaul was amongst the most economical bowlers for his team. RCB might not have secured a win at the end of the day, but they did take heart in defending a low score of 115 to take the match right down to the wire. Rampaul felt, had his team got another 15 runs on the board, the story could have been different.
“I think we were looking for something close to 130, which could have been a fighting score on that wicket,” said Rampaul as he spoke to IPLT20.com after the match. “But it was a great effort by our bowlers to take the match right till the very end. There are a lot of positives to take from this game. We got to move on quickly for the next game and get ourselves going,” added the seamer.
Rampaul also felt, the wicket was conducive to bowling and the team lost out on certain crucial aspects of the game. “It was a good wicket to bowl on, but some of the bouncers went on while some kept low. It was important to bowl the right line and length and we felt we should have done certain things differently. Had we held on to all our catches at those crucial times, the result could have been different”.
Talking about dropped catches, one could not help but ask about Abhimanyu Mithun’s bungling off Jacques Kallis in the third over of the match. Kallis had scored just three then and on went on to secure a five-wicket victory for KKR. Did Rampaul have a chat with Mithun after the game?
With a smile, Rampaul said, “Look! That is how it goes. At times you take a mind-blowing catch, at times you misjudge it, it happens to the best of us. Even Keiron Pollard dropped three the other day. We have to move on from such situations and comeback strong in our next game.”
Rampaul was of the view that RCB fancied their chances even though they had just 115 on the board.“Our plan was to take early wickets and put them under pressure. We were very much in the game throughout, and our hopes got stronger when we could strike as early as in the second ball of the match. We had got a crucial wicket within the Power Play, but unfortunately we could not build on it and we had to go down losing”.
When asked if the situation could have been different had RCB played an extra spinner instead of a pacer, considering the slow nature of the wicket, Rampaul said, “The wicket was slow, but it wasn’t turning as well. Bowling in the right areas was the key and the bowlers who bowled to a good line and length succeeded. It was all about having variations in your bowling on this wicket”.
A look at the points table would say that most of the top six teams are in with a Play-Off chance. The competition is neck to neck and Rampaul said the next two games were very crucial, especially after the loss against KKR. “We are very much alive in the tournament, but we still have two games remaining and we look forward to winning both the games, getting us to 20 points on the table. We have to make sure that we end in the top four”.