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There was a Chris Gayle special, a last over finish, a nail biting encounter at the M Chinnaswamy stadium and more importantly, a win for the RCB fans as they roared red in excitement. All those happenings led to one of the strong teams in the tournament, the Mumbai Indians being beaten in thrilling fashion and now ahead of the RCB are the Sunrisers Hyderabad who are equally upbeat after a 22 run victory against the Pune Warriors India.
First up, the most important update from the RCB camp was about Chris Gayle, who limped away to an unbeaten 58 ball 92 against the Mumbai Indians on Thursday. It was the tenth over of the match when Harbhajan Singh went for a catch and crashed into Gayle’s left leg. Gayle was in pain, though it didn’t matter to him as he belted the Mumbai Indians bowlers to all parts of the ground. But still, there were concerns about Gayle’s fitness, and doubts if he was fit to play Sunday’s game.
“Chris Gayle is fit, he will feature in our match tomorrow against the Sunrisers Hyderabad.” confirmed Vinay Kumar who addressed the press, here in Hyderabad.
Whenever RCB have taken the field, Chris Gayle has always managed to grab the eyeballs. Kumar reiterated that the other players in the squad too perform to their potential. “The opposition always thinks about plans to counter Gayle, but we have a lot of other good players in the side, both from the international and domestic fronts. When Gayle doesn’t fire, we always have other players in the side who have taken the responsibility to score well.”
Vinay Kumar stole the show with a brave last over against Mumbai Indians, but the RCB seamer said he was confident he could take his side to victory. “I was confident enough to do my basics well. In all these years, I have realised certain aspects in my game. Defending nine to ten runs in the last over was difficult, but I wasn’t thinking much about the batsman. I was confident enough of defending the runs needed off the last over.”
RCB have a squad packed with fast bowlers. They played as many as five bowlers in their previous game and looked to continue with the same combination. “If you play five bowlers, you have more variety in the bowling. Yes, it is not necessary that all five bowlers will come good every time, but in case any of them falters; there is always a Virat Kohli, Tillakaratne Dilshan or a Gayle who can tweak in some overs when needed.”
Kumar was also aware, that the wicket in Hyderabad was a slow one, and would have to bring about certain changes in his bowling to suit the wicket. “After seeing Friday’s game, where the wicket was slow, and the batsmen were finding it hard to score, I feel using some variations would really come handy. The wicket is slow and as a bowler one needs to bowl according to the nature of the wicket.”
RCB will be playing the Sunrisers back to back over the next couple of days, and are eager to do well against SRH who play hosts tomorrow. “Whenever we have played against Hyderabad, it has always been a good game. Yes, we have back to back games against the Sunrisers, but we will have to stick to our basics and put up a good show tomorrow. With the kind of firepower in our batting and variety in our bowling, we are looking forward to playing them.”
With Zaheer Khan out of action and still progressing towards a speedy recovery, the responsibility of the pace attack has been vested on young shoulders. “I love the responsibility given to me. It is sad to miss out on an experienced pacer like Zaheer Khan, but at the same time it gives an opportunity for the other young pacers to perform. We have a good breed of young fast bowlers who are itching to go out there and give it their best.”
It is amazing how low scoring totals bring about some of the most interesting results in cricket. Such was the case at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium on Friday as the Sunrisers Hyderabad successfully defended 126 against the Pune Warriors India.
It was a win that sprung up individual performances that would only keep the Sunrisers in good spirits in the fixtures to come. For starters, when most of their batsmen were finding the going tough, their most expensive buy this season; all rounder Thisara Perera made batting look easy scoring at will with a strike rate of 160 plus.
Not to forget his bowling prowess, with ample support from man of the match Amit Mishra, an efficient Ishant Sharma and needless to say the ever consistent Dale Steyn. Not surprisingly, Kris Srikkanth, mentor of the Sunrisers Hyderabad, wore a smile on his face. “We are all very happy. It was a fantastic win for us. The way the boys came together, took up the challenge and performed, the effort has to be applauded. Yesterday, as Sunrisers Hyderabad we showed what team work can do. It was crucial to start off with a win, and we did exactly that.”
The bowling won them the game on Friday night, but a cause of concern would be their batting that hardly took off. Barring Thisara Perera, none of the Sunrisers’ batsmen looked like getting a move on. Not surprisingly, the batting issues would be in focus agreed Srikkanth. “Our batting would be a big focus for us. It would have been a different issue had we put on another 15-20 runs on that wicket. We would like to target a 150 plus scores and these are early days in the tournament. I am sure the batting will come good against the RCB on Sunday.”
When asked if they have any set plans against their opposition, the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who too are upbeat after their last over finish against the Mumbai Indians, Srikkanth said, “Every team has a plan when they go into a game. We like to keep things simple, we are playing a good side tomorrow, but we are willing to take the challenge and we are confident of it. Whatever the opposition, whatever the wicket condition, the energy in the camp is high on confidence which is what is important.”
The team is missing out on key players like Darren Sammy and Shikhar Dhawan; but both are expected to join the squad soon. Most importantly, Dhawan who is away from the side is eager to join the team as soon as possible. “We got a message from Shikhar Dhawan and he said he is raring to get back and play for the Sunrisers. He is excited after our win and has shown a lot of keenness to perform. That is the kind of enthusiasm we want in the side, that eagerness to succeed and perform for your side. The team is gelling well as a unit and I am quite positive that they will do well tomorrow.”
Kris Srikkanth also mentioned that there were no injury concerns whatsoever in the team. They will be fielding a completely fit side against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday.