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Brad Hodge might have stolen all the limelight with his fiery batting that took the Royals to a thrilling four-wicket victory against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, but one of the notable performances that should not be given a miss is that of medium-pacer Vikramjeet Malik. Malik, who plays for Himachal Pradesh and was scouted by the Rajasthan Royals before the start of the tournament has not been a regular fixture for the franchise. But given the day, given the moment and thrown the ball to, Malik did not disappoint.
“I got a hint that I would play the match against SRH a day before and was asked to be ready for the game,” Malik said, as he spoke to IPLT20.com.
“It was only on Wednesday thatRahul Dravid confirmed the decision after looking at the pitch. Rahul bhai and Shane Watson motivated me before the game and asked me to stick to my basics,” added Malik. Before playing against the Sunrisers, Malik featured in just one game which was against the Chennai Super Kings. Malik said he felt like a kid who warmed the bench for most part of the season, and felt like it even when he got a chance to play. “When I played against Chennai Super Kings in my first game this year, I felt like a newbie. It felt as if I was back in 2009 when I first played for the Kings XI Punjab, but the feeling got better when I got a game playing for Rajasthan Royals this year and I am happy I performed well against SRH.”
Having said that he felt like a newbie, when asked if he was confident of a good show coming into a crucial game, Malik said he was more nervous but at the same time confident. “I was nervous before bowling the first ball of the match. I got a chance to play a match after a long gap and I decided to bowl according to my strength and not try anything fancy. I did not get any wickets in the lone game I played before this match, but I had bowled well which gave me the confidence to perform well in the big game.”
Malik bowled three overs in the game and got two early wickets, that of Parthiv Patel and Hanuma Vihariwhich put SRH straightaway on the back-foot. By getting two quick wickets in his very first spell, Malik’s job was done. “My main job was to give my team a good start with the ball. I told myself, that if the captain gave me the ball it was my responsibility not to disappoint my captain. I am glad I lived up to the expectations and picked two crucial wickets up front.”
When asked why the Royals did not complete his full quota of four overs even after such a good spell of bowling, Malik said, “There were other bowlers in the team who had bowled well throughout the tournament. They had more experience of bowling under certain circumstances and that could be the reason why I was held back. My job was done the moment I gave my side a good start.”
Malik who has the experience of 65 first class games and over 250 wickets to his name thanked the Rajasthan Royals management for the chance to play in the IPL. “I owe a lot of credit to the Rajasthan Royals. They had seen me perform in the domestic competitions and backed me for my skills. I have had a decent run this year in the domestic circuit and I was asked by the management to play to the best of my ability.”
Malik has represented the Kings XI Punjab before joining the Royals and described the whole IPL journey as a learning experience as he said, “Brett Lee has helped me when we were both with Kings XI Punjab. I have always loved fast bowling and it is great to have pacers like Shaun Tait in the side wherein everyday you get to learn a lot.”
Malik also found inspiration in Glenn McGrath and said he had learnt a lot watching the Aussie legend play. “Glenn McGrath has been my biggest inspiration. I have learnt a lot from watching him on TV. Over the years there have been fast bowlers like Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram who have been great bowlers, but McGrath has inspired me the most.”
Up next, the Royals face Mumbai Indians and Malik vowed not to disappoint. I am not sure if I will get a chance to play in the next game, but if I do I will make sure that I put up a good performance for my captain and my side.”
The Sunrisers Hyderabad showed a lot of character and nerves of steel as they scrapped their way into the Playoffs of the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013. However, the Cameron White-led team lost the eliminator to Rajasthan Royals, but not without a fight. SRH, who had more often than not, defended small totals in the competition were not able to pull off the feat against Brad Hodge’s onslaught at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Wednesday night.
After the four-wicket loss, in a last over finish while defending 132 runs, Darren Sammy spoke to IPLT20.com about the game. The West Indian smashed three sixes in his 21-ball 29 and then took a superb catch to send back the dangerous Shane Watson and followed up with wickets of Dishant Yagnikand Stuart Binnyto keep the team in the contest.
While speaking to the official website, he highlighted the fighting spirit and the efforts of his team in the sixth edition of the IPL.
Excerpts from the interview:
The Sunrisers have successfully defended small totals this season; how confident was the team of defending 132?
We were quite confident but Hodgey played amazingly in the end. I didn’t land my deliveries properly in the right areas and we lost the game. We fought hard. Nobody can fault the efforts that Sunrisers have put in. A new franchise coming into this IPL, going to the Playoff and almost making it in the end was good. We have a great bunch of guys. It has been a wonderful season for us. We will keep our heads up and we will come back next year and play more cricket.
Are you one of the on-field captains for SRH? We saw you discuss and give inputs to the captain and speak to bowlers?
No! I think it is my natural way of playing. Whether I am captain or not I share my ideas with whoever is in-charge and I try to encourage team-mates. And everybody who are on the field acts like a captain as well. We have gelled really well together. Our bowling obviously carried us through this tournament and we came a bit short on Wednesday but like I said we will keep our heads up. It has been a good run for us and the guys should be proud of what they have achieved in this IPL.
What is it like batting in the middle?
It was a difficult to score runs on the wicket. We got 130 odd but it was more or less 145 -150 to be sure. But we did come out and made a game out of it. We nearly crossed the hurdle but unfortunately these things happen in cricket. We shall wish all the three teams the very best and may the best team win in the end.
You had a partnership developing with Shikhar Dhawan and both got off to good starts.But both weren’t able to convert those into bigger scores. What went wrong?
To me that was the most disappointing part of the game. Because I felt, had me myself or (Thisara) Perera or even Shikhar batted through we would have gotten that 140-150 that we were looking for and it was a silly run out. And we learn from these things and hopefully we will have more games to play for Sunrisers and we will get to play against the Royals sometime next year.
What was Moody’s advise during the time out?
We have been in these situations many times before. I think that this is the first time in this tournament that we have not defended 130 in this tournament and he just kept reminding us to keep to our plans out there. Which is to bowl dead straight on the wicket and it worked for us and we really brought ourselves back into the game but we just didn’t have enough mettle for us to carry us to the line.
How do you keep yourself motivated and calm?
We enjoy the game. We go out there and we leave everything else off the field whether we score 160 or whether we are three for the loss of two wickets. Somebody always comes through for us. And that is the hallmark of a team. Anytime somebody can chip in for us.
We see Tom Moody briefing the team during strategic time outs. Tells us about his briefings?
Tom has been excellent for the franchise. He, Waqar (Younis), VVS Laxman and Kris (Krishnamachari Srikkanth); they have all been brilliant in the way we plan. We always got a lot of information and analysis. It has been a whole team effort this season. And the franchise owners, they are loving, they are always here supporting the team and it is just like a family. And the way we go out there and played, everybody plays for each other, we support each other and that’s why we were in the Playoff.