The SRH bowler picked two for 23 and contributed towards a vital win. He kept the batsmen guessing as he bowled his googly, gave flight to the ball, spun it and varied his length and pace.
While speaking to IPLT20.com after the victory, Mishra talked about preparing for key contests, his 100th wicket and bowling in the IPL. He also pointed out that the batsmen are reading spinners better this season, and hence, they are more careful against the likes of him. This is a challenge that he is enjoying.
Excerpts from his interview:
You claimed your 100th IPL wicket, that too of Kevin Pietersen, and finished with your best figures of the season so far. Can't get much better than that?
Yes, it does feel good to have taken 100 wickets; it’s not easy. I faced a lot of difficulties along the way. It’s not easy bowling in the IPL. Everyone knows it is not easy for the bowlers. I am happy that I am performing well, everything is going well and we are back in form like we were last year.
You claimed two key wickets at crucial junctures today. How differently had you prepared from the last few matches?
I cleared my mind like I have been doing earlier. I was a bit confused about my bowling in the UAE leg. I cleared my mind and focused on what I had been doing right earlier. Like I try to create pressure and take wickets. And that is what I have been doing and it is coming along well, so I am happy now.
You had kept the batsmen on their toes with your variations. How do you mix and use your deliveries?
I watch the videos of a batsman and see what kind of delivery he is not able to pick up. Then I try and bowl that particular type of ball more to that batsman and confuse him. And when you do that, the batsmen are a little late in playing, and I get the benefit of that.
So what was your plan for Kevin Pietersen, who was looking in good nick today?
For a batsman like KP, you have to create pressure. Today, the wicket here was a little slow and the ball was also spinning a bit. So my effort was to see to it that he tries to hit me, rather than me trying to get him out. That is what happened and my plan worked. I bowled that ball a little slow and he was deceived by it; it spun a bit and he was caught in the covers. I always bowl when the batsmen are set. It is a difficult period, and our team needs a wicket or a few economical overs then. I am lucky that so far I have been able to do what is required and I am able to get wickets at crucial times as well. Hopefully, I can continue to perform like this.
Your team has one of the best pace attacks, which can choke batsmen and pick wickets at both ends of the innings. What is your role is this scenario?
The challenge at the time is that you concede as few runs and boundaries as possible. And while doing that if you pick wickets, then that is even better for the team. I couldn’t do that in the initial games. But in the last couple of games, I have made a comeback and given the team breakthroughs.
What do you focus on – taking wickets or curbing the flow of runs?
I am considered a wicket-taking bowler, so I focus on picking wickets. However, sometimes the situation is such that you have to create pressure and take a wicket. I try to assess the situation and bowl accordingly.
Are batsmen reading spinners much better now?
This year, the batsmen are playing the spinners better. They are reading them well and they understand that spinners play a vital role in T20s. This year, I have noticed that the batsmen are more careful while playing spinners. That’s good. It is challenging and I am enjoying the challenge.
What are challenges while bowling in T20s?
When you are trying to take wickets and are hit for runs, the pressure is on you. So the challenge is to curb the big hits and take wickets and maintain the pressure too.