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Although they were pushed on the back-foot early in the innings, Shane Watson, accompanied by Stuart Binny pulled off a comprehensive win over the Chennai Super Kings in their last match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium to maintain their unbeaten streak at home. Having lost four wickets for 45 runs the Rahul Dravid-led side faced an uphill task and were laboring their way to the 142-run target until the duo broke the shackles in the 11th over, claiming 23 runs off Ravichandran Ashwin and never looked back. Binny who has been finishing matches for the Royals’ once again fulfilled the role with a 23-ball 41 while Watson’s swashbuckling 70 off 34 balls took the game away from the visitors.
The all-rounders entertained the crowd with a shower of sixes with Watson smashing six and Binny hitting three to take the attack to the Chennai Super Kings. Their onslaught on Ashwin tilted the match in their favour and they steadily seized the advantage from MS Dhoni’s team.
While speaking to IPLT20.com after his match winning performance, a thrilled Watson credited Binny for his performance and looked back on the match and their glorious run at home in the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013.
Excerpts from the interview:
On being unbeaten at home
We have had a lot of success here, lot like the first year I played here. We certainly know the conditions well and most importantly we have got a really good team at the moment. We have got lot of depth throughout our whole squad. Everyone is chipping in when we need to, so it is working out nicely.
On Stuart Binny’s innings and the role he has played throughout the season
Stuart has been amazing, both with the bat and the ball. The conditions suited him beautifully. He swung the ball nicely and with the bat he just comes out and finds the boundary very much straight away. That certainly takes a lot of pressure off me. Initially when he first came out, I suppose that over from (Ravichandran) Ashwin was going to be really important to be able to try and pull that run rate back a little bit.
On what he told Binny since they had already lost four wickets
We didn’t talk that much to be honest. We knew instinctively that Ashwin was going to be someone we have to really try and score runs off. We had to get a big over through that period of time over that one, two or three overs. It just worked out that Stuy got a six, which meant that we could try and take that over and get that big over that we really needed.
On whether they picked the bowlers that they were going to attack
It was mainly him at that point of time. We were struggling to try and find the boundary. It just worked out nicely that Ashwin came on and bowled a couple of balls that we were still looking for. In the end it was, I suppose to bat on instinct like myself and Stuy were doing with the hope he bowls in the areas that were luckily in our favour.
What it was like to bat in the middle?
It took me a little while to get going. There was a little bit in the wicket early so initially I was a little bit hesitant to try and take any risk. In the end I knew I needed to as the run rate was getting up high. I knew we had to start to take a few risks and when I did, it started to come off nicely, so it was just one of those days you dream off that everything you try, every shot that you are hoping for comes your way and it did on Sunday night.
On whether he was aware that they needed to finish by the 16th over to claim pole position in the points table when he had started hitting the bowlers towards the end
No, I didn’t know that. But we were trying to finish the game as quickly as we could. As soon as we got down below run-a-ball we knew we were comfortably placed with wickets in hand. We knew that we had to try and score quickly so that is when we started swinging too hard in the end to try and get our run-rate up.
On sending James Faulkner at No 3 despite having a flexible line-up
The thought was that there was going to be a bit of pace and bounce in the wicket and also maybe a little bit of seam with the new ball. Jimmy Faulkner certainly knows how to bat in those sort of conditions, batting where he does back in Australia. So we thought, that would have been a good option. It didn’t work out but that’s okay, we knew the reason why we were doing it and what it could have provided for the team. But on other days it has worked, like having Sanju V up at No 3 and it paid off. So we just wanted to give it a try and hope that it comes off but unfortunately it didn’t.
Whether it was the rain factor or the belief in their batsmen that saw them opting to bowl
We knew that there could have been a little bit of rain around, there is no doubt about that and also that we have chased very well here. We have controlled the batting innings very well in the last few games as well. I think we certainly are batting well at the moment but we have also batted well when we have batted first.
On plans for CSK’s batting line-up, comprising the likes of MS Dhoni, Michael Hussey and Co
You always have a few plans and you hope that they come off. You bowl well enough, good balls to try and get them out so it was just one of the days that our plans worked which is nice.
On the plan going forward with two away games remaining and trying to finish in the top two
Well the most important thing is to keep playing good cricket. We played Mumbai Indians here at home and beat them very convincingly in the last game. So we know exactly what we have to do to beat Mumbai Indians. We have had a bit of success in Mumbai the last few years as well in the Wankhede Stadium. It is a beautiful wicket so I am looking forward to playing there.
On areas that they would be looking to improve on
You always try to get better every single game. Batting-wise we have been controlling the innings really well. Partnerships have been amazing with Rahul (Dravid) and Ajinkya Rahane and we know that everyone is going to chip in at some stage and on one day it is going to be our day. I think bowling wise we are certainly bowling better towards the end of our bowling innings as well. We have got to continue to improve in a few little areas but we certainly got good momentum at the moment.
Put in to bat the MS Dhoni-led side were given a good start byMichael Hussey and Murali Vijay with a 83-run opening stand but the visitors couldn’t capitalise on it until a late onslaught by Dwayne Bravo helped them put a respectable total on the board. While defending 141 runs the visitors had the home team precariously placed at four for 45 but, Shane Watson and Stuart Binnytook the game away with some exciting batting. However, the loss did not affect the standings of the team in the points table.
While speaking to IPLT20.com, Vijay who notched up his second fifty of the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013, lauded Watson’s match winning performance. Reflecting on the loss he added that the opening stand is one of the positives that they would be taking from the game as they head into the business end of the tournament.
Excerpts from the interview:
On CSK continuing to be at the top of the points table despite the loss with one more home game to go
Yes, that is what really matters at the moment. We are comfortably placed in the points table but we don’t want to take anything for granted. So, the next game is going to be much more important for us. We are just looking forward to it.
On getting his second half-century of the season and being back amongst runs
This game is like that. On some days it is yours and on some days it is not yours. So obviously you have to be consistent and I am just working on that. The main thing is that I am batting well and that is more important for me than getting runs. I know that if I keep hitting the ball well runs will come automatically.
What it felt like batting at the SMS stadium
There was a zip in the wicket, it was not that easy for shot making and actually you have to give credit to (Shane) Watson for the way he played.
On fancying their chances when RR were four for 45
He (Watson) is a world class player and on his day nobody can stop him. He played well on Sunday. Hopefully the next time we turn up we will put up a better show.
On whether Bravo’s cameo helped make a match of the game
Absolutely, because it was difficult for a batsman to just go in and get three boundaries like that. It was unbelievable. He is a key player in our team. He has done his part.
On the positives that they will take from the game
Obviously our batting! We batted really well at the start. That was a concern early on. Now it is like everybody is getting runs, so that is a good sign for CSK.
On CSK’s superb fielding
We take pride on that aspect of the game. Everybody puts in their hard yards at the training session so it is coming good. Hopefully we can put up a better show in the next game.