Vinay Kumar shows nerves of steel

Kolkata Knight Riders medium pacer recaps his final over against RCB

Sharjah 25 April 2014
Picture this: Nine required off six balls. Sunil Narine has bowled out his four overs and has been miserly as ever, conceding just 16 with the priced wicket of Virat Kohli to his name. The rest of the bowlers have been bowled out. Who do you turn to then? Vinay Kumar.

With a reputation for defending totals in the last over, Gambhir tossed the ball to him and the events to follow were unequivocally dramatic. Kumar held his nerves, almost got hit for a six, but was ably supported by a stunning catch by Chris Lynn, and at the end of it all, sealed a two-run victory for his side. The Knight Riders had secured a win out of nowhere, all thanks to some brilliance in the field and composed bowling at the end. Vinay Kumar, who held his nerves in the last over, was kind enough to have a quick chat with after the game.

Here are excerpts from his interview:

How does it feel to snatch a thrilling victory like that?

It feels really great to win a thriller that went down till the last over. This was a very important game for us after our loss in the previous game. It was a much needed win for the team and we are happy that we came out winning at the end of it.

You have done this in the past in the RCB jersey. How did it feel doing the same for KKR against your former team?

I had successfully defended quite a few games in the last over last year. I am used to being under such tense situations and I try to get better with every outing. Even while practicing, I try to put myself into such situations during practice, which has helped me perform when needed.

Nine runs to get from six balls; what was going through your mind when you were asked to bowl the final over?

I just backed myself to bowl in the areas that were my strengths. At the start of my run-up, I told myself that I had to stick to my plans and bowl at the right length. I knew if I bowled in those areas – close to a hundred percent – then it would be very difficult for the batsmen to score runs. I backed my abilities and it paid off.

How did you plan to bowl to two power hitters in Albie Morkel and AB de Villiers in the last over?

I had different plans for different batsmen and I just bowled according to my strengths. I knew if I bowled to Albie to his strengths, then he would hit me out of the park. I needed to bowl in the areas that would make it difficult for him to hit. I varied my pace on the first ball to Morkel, then bowled at a good length to AB, and then bowled outside off to Morkel and got AB’s wicket off the next ball.

Did you have your heart in your mouth when you saw the ball soaring towards the boundary for a six off AB de Villiers’ bat?

I thought the ball had gone for a six. Chris Lynn took an amazing catch. I even thought that he had crossed the boundary line after taking the catch. He made sure that he was inside the boundary line. I would say it was an amazing presence of mind and a superb catch to turn the match on its head.

Has Wasim Akram given you a few pointers to bowl under such tense situations?

Working with Wasim Akram is a great feeling and I am learning a lot of things from a legend like him. He has helped me plan and bowl according to the situation. I am learning to bowl yorkers and I get some reverse swing, which will help my bowling in the future as well.

Personally, what do you take from this performance?

This performance will help me become a more matured bowler and keep me high on confidence going into the remaining games. Hopefully, I can turn up for my team every time and put up a good show.
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