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The left-arm spinner who has began the 2012-13 season with record breaking knocks in the domestic circuit has been in the news for his bowling on the international circuit since making his Test debut late last year.
His artistry with the ball has continued into the shortest format of the game. In the crucial game at the Feroz Shah Kotla, the 24-year old finished with 4-0-31-3 which included the key wickets of Dwayne Smith, Dinesh Karthikand Kieron Pollard to help his team book a place in the final.
Although they had been set a 193-run formidable target, Rohit Sharma’s MI were coasting towards the target with Dwayne Smith leading the chase. And with MI on 86 for one after eight overs, ahead of CSK who were 55/1 at the stage, Jadeja struck in his first over to claim Dwayne Smith and followed it up with the wicket of MI’s man in form, Dinesh Karthik.
The left-arm spinner then finished his quota of overs with the all important wicket of Kieron Pollard to put his team in the driver’s seat.
While speaking to IPLT20.com later, Jadeja spoke about the plan to send back both the West Indians who were capable of snatching the game away from CSK.
Excerpts from the interview:
Given the way MI was cruising towards the target what was your plan when handed the ball?
I was thinking that taking a wicket at that point in the match was very crucial. The way they had begun and were well place placed in the first ten overs, they were going very well. Getting a couple of wickets at that time was very crucial and that is what we did. Luckily we got Dwayne Smith (in the ninth over) and then Dinesh Karthik. It was a very crucial time for us and we took two wickets and from there on put pressure on them.
How did you plan the wickets?
The plan was to bowl in good areas and not give boundaries because the format is such that if the batsmen don’t get boundaries then obviously there are chances of getting wickets. So that is what we were trying for; to get a breakthrough and then put pressure on them because they were in a very good position. In the first ten overs they were on 92 for two. We made a good comeback from there and in the last five overs all the bowlers bowled well.
How important was Kieron Pollard’s wicket?
Very! It was very important because in this format he has been very successful and can hit a six easily when required. And after he got out it seemed like the Mumbai Indians were all out. So that situation had come about. It is important to claim their two-three key players and that is what we did on Tuesday.
You get wickets at crucial junctures in a match. What is the key to your success?
Depending on the situation and speaking to Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni) I try to bowl. He tells me what can happen and how the wicket is assisting. And that is the advantage that we try to take. After ten overs the ball was not coming on to the bat. So we were trying to bowl slow deliveries and in the right areas so that they don’t get boundaries.
Which was your favourite wicket today?
Obviously Pollard’s wicket! If he had stayed at the crease longer than maybe we would even have lost the game. Thankfully we got his wicket at the right time when we needed it.
Michael Hussey’s contribution has been vital to the team’s success. Your thoughts
He has given us very good starts when opening, with stands of 50 plus. In the middle overs too he rotates the strike and it is a very good thing that we have got an opener like him. It is good that he has contributed so well throughout the season and we hope in the final too he plays a good long innings and helps the team win.
There were a lot of CSK supporters at the stadium waving yellow flags, giving a you the feeling of home a crowd. Your thoughts
We have been champions and have been doing well for so many years and we have a lot of fan support. We will try and win it for our fans. That is the only gift we can give to them. They come into the stadiums and support us in all sorts of weather so we hope that we can give them that gift.
What was your planning for Pollard?
He is strong on the on-side, leg-side. The plan was to bowl to him outside off and make him stretch for his big shots. I was trying to keep the ball outside his reach and also was bowling slow to that he struggles with his timing.
And what was the plan for Smith who was well settled at the crease?
The same was for Smith because in that innings the sixes that he hit were over mid-wicket and mid-on. So our effort was to bowl to both of them outside the off-stump because he doesn’t play much over covers or the cut shot. The idea was to bowl to him in that area and give him one run and get the other batter on strike.
How are you feeling not getting much of an opportunity with the bat yet?
I am waiting that whenever I get the opportunity I should be able to make a good contribution to the team. But actually if I don’t get to bat, it means top three-four batsmen are doing well and it helps the team win. I am ready to bat whenever the opportunity presents itself I will try to help the team to get into a good position and win. If I get batting in the final I will focus and try to play my game.
This team is about consistency. Consistent in performances and consistent the way they write their scripts game after game, year after year. With a history of being slow starters in the IPL and then ‘peaking at the right time’ Chennai Super Kings always seem to have a knack of getting those big performances when required the most.
This year too, they began with a few slow starts, only to go on to make it to the business end and stamp their authority in a tournament that they have almost made their own. With a comprehensive 48-run victory against the Mumbai Indians in Delhi, Chennai Super Kings now hold the record of five appearances in the final of the IPL. This year, much of the credit has to be given to their most consistent batsman Michael Husseywho has been the nucleus for the side. Time and again he has raised his hand up and given the much needed impetus at the top to take CSK to huge totals or chase down targets more often than not.
It came as no surprise on Tuesday that Hussey went to on to register his sixth half century this season and become the highest run-getter for the season. He along with Suresh Raina put up an unbeaten 140-run stand for the second wicket to take CSK to a formidable target of 192 which was always a mountainous task for the Mumbai Indians. With just a step away from lifting their third title, CSK’s most consistent bat, Michael Hussey is eager than ever to lay his hands on the coveted Trophy.
In a chat with IPLT20.com, Hussey talks about his consistent run, the pride of being a Super King, and the final at the Eden Gardens where he just can’t wait to play.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
Yet another good day on the field, it has almost become like a habit to score runs for you. Is it tough to cultivate such a good habit?
I am not sure about that but I have to say it was a very good team performance. Murali Vijay started really well and we had a good partnership together in the beginning, and then Suresh Raina came in and continued on. I always believe the key to batting is partnerships and I am glad we got our partnerships going against MI.
You have had a number of partnerships with Suresh Raina. Does the presence of Raina at the other end make batting easier for you?
I really enjoy batting with Raina. He is a fine player and he scores so quickly which takes the pressure off me. We talk together a lot out there as to which bowler we should target and how we should play different situations. We have a good rapport which really helps.
Personally, do you think this is the best you have been striking the ball amongst all IPL seasons?
That is a tough one to answer. I cannot say if it is that way. But it has been good fun to play for CSK and I have really enjoyed it. It has been nice to be able to contribute to certain team wins and get us into the position of being in the grand final. I do not really think too much about how I am going personally. It is more about how much I can contribute to a team win.
What was the talk in the dressing room going into the game against Mumbai Indians?
The talk was to enjoy and do the basics really well which was the main message coming through. We knew it was a big occasion to play against a great team. We have got a lot of experienced players in the dressing room who have played a lot of T20 cricket and they understand what their roles are and it was important that everyone played their role on Tuesday night. We are glad that the plans were executed and we came out winning.
From 69/0 in the first ten overs, getting to 192/1 at the end of twenty overs; was it a plan to start off the innings slow and then get aggressive towards the end?
We would have loved to be close to a hundred in the first ten, but it does not work that way. Mumbai Indians have very good bowlers, so it is not easy to come and smack them around. The plan was to get set and try and dig deep with a partnership so that we could go severe towards the end once we got used to the conditions.
Five out of six times in the finals for CSK; how special is to be a part of yet another final?
It is a great achievement by the team, to make it to the final so many times. Making it yet again this year too is a fantastic feeling. It is just great to be in another final and obviously we want to win. We give ourselves every chance of winning the final.
All set for the final at the Eden Gardens?
Yes! I can’t wait to get there. It is a fantastic opportunity, fantastic occasion and a fantastic ground. I am really looking forward to it. Winning the final is all I care about now. There are three very good teams fighting out there for the final spot, and it is going to be interesting to watch who makes it over the next few days.