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Rajasthan Royals needed 85 runs from 39 balls with their top five back in the hut. The result of the match seemed a foregone conclusion. The writing was on the wall. Except that it wasn’t. At least that’s what Steven Smith and James Faulkner believed.
Together, the two Australians scripted a miracle at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium as the Royal Challengers Bangalore contingent was lulled into a stunning silence. Smith and Faulkner chased down RCB’s 190 with seven balls to spare.
Man of the Match, James Faulkner (41 off 17 balls and one for 42) tried to describe what transpired out there in words in his post-match chat with IPLT20.com. Here’s what we got from him:
You guys never give up, do you?
When you are in a position we were in, you have nothing to lose. It’s all or nothing. Chasing a total down is always a nice feeling, but chasing 190 from that position is a very special feeling for the team.
When you and Steve got together, what was the talk like?
They were holding us up with spin, so personally I thought I’ll just play myself in; maybe get a single or play out a dot or if it’s a bad one, put it away. I started a bit slowly and then thought I’ll take on the medium pacers. It worked for me, but I thought the 18th over where Steven took on Ashok Dinda (for 22 runs) was when the game swung back in our favour. The rest is history.
Did you set targets over-wise?
Yes, we knew it was all about scraping off whatever we could in every over and maybe get the target down to 10 runs in the last over. That’s what is going to win you T20 games when you’re chasing 190. In the middle overs, Yuvraj bowled really well and they restricted us as well as took wickets. That made it very hard for us. So, it was extremely special to win from there.
Was the mood a little pensive after conceding 190?
I thought AB de Villiers played an exceptional innings and he is one of the hardest players to bowl to in T20 cricket. We knew it was going to be tough coming against him. Then add Yuvraj’s innings to that, which was unbelievable. So, two class players took the game away from us at the halfway mark. We won the game of cricket in the end, but it was a very hard one.
You more than made up for the pounding you received with the ball today.
Yes, I must admit that this is not one of my favourite grounds in the world to bowl at, especially when you are bowling to some of the world’s best T20 cricketers. We might have to come back here for the final, but there is a lot of cricket to be played before that. What makes the Royals such a spirited bunch?
All we are concerned about is to play cricket for each other. We haven’t got many superstars and that adds to the beauty of how we coordinate and complement each other on the field. We have a very healthy environment in our team, guided by our coach, mentor and captain. It has helped us so far and hopefully will continue to do so.
It was only their second loss of Pepsi IPL 2014, when Kings XI Punjab were outplayed by Kolkata Knight Riders at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. Although they had defended a smaller total against the same opposition in their previous encounter, they could not prevent KKR from scaling the target on Sunday. On a largely forgettable night, one of the better performers for KXIP was Akshar Patel. The 20-year-old left-arm spinner conceded at the rate of five runs per over and finished as the most economical bowler for his side.
In an interview with IPLT20.com after the match, he mentioned that bowling to the likes of Virender Sehwag and Glenn Maxwell in the nets has helped him work on his bowling. And while reflecting on the loss against KKR, he said that the KXIP bowlers conceded too many runs in the powerplay, and their batters did not capitalise on a decent start.
Here are excerpts from his exclusive interview:
On the loss
Of course, there is disappointment in losing a game, but you win some and you lose some; it is the nature of the game. But we will look to take the positives from this game and work our way forward. On where they fell short while batting
Well, while batting, we probably got a little impatient. We could have spent more time in the middle. We had got a got start from the openers, but the middle order fell away a bit. It happens – you have a bad day and good day. The other wicket where we scored 230-odd against CSK was good to bat on. But that is the nature of the game.
Whether the onus was on the bowlers in the KKR game
Yes, the onus was on the bowlers. In the last match against KKR also the onus was on our bowlers. We had set them a 133-run target back then; but we defended it. Today, our bowlers were a bit unlucky. We conceded too many runs in the first six overs, but overall, we were okay.
On the KXIP bowling attack that has a good mix of young and experienced bowlers
Yes, there is a good mix. Some of us have also played domestic cricket together, so we work together. It works out to be a good combination. The Australian fast bowlers back us and give confidence. We enjoy each other’s company, which is good.
On learning from senior spinner, Murali Karthik
He has played for India, and has played a lot of domestic and county cricket too. He helps me a lot. My action is a little different, so there isn’t much that he tells me about that, but he talks to me about things like mental strength and other such areas. It is good that at a young age I am getting the opportunity to learn from such experienced cricketers.
On bowling to the likes of Sehwag, Maxwell and David Miller in the nets
I benefit a lot from that. They are big hitters and when I bowl to them, I do so according to a field. That helps me a lot. And they tell me what a batsman might do while facing me, and so I learn a lot.
On coach Sanjay Bangar
He is an excellent coach. He teaches us and backs youngsters like Shivam Sharma, Rishi Dhawan and me.
On Maxwell, Sandeep Sharma and few others, including him, being on the emerging players list
It is good for us as well as the team that our names are on the emerging players list. It helps the confidence as well.