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Chasing a challenging 179-run target, Karun Nair scored a 24-ball 48 to keep the Rajasthan Royals in the game. However, as he held up one end, wickets fell like nine pins at the other, which cost RR their fifth loss of the season.
The 22-year-old from Karnataka has carried forward his form from the Indian domestic season into the Pepsi Indian Premier League and has played a few good knocks for his team. Although he finished on the losing side against the Mumbai Indians in RR’s last home game of the season, he did put up a fight along with James Faulkner and Brad Hodge.
While speaking to IPLT20.com, he reflected on the game and spoke about his batting performance. Nair, who bats in the middle order for Karnataka, also talked about adapting to batting at the top of the line-up and being part of the Royals franchise.
Excerpts from his interview:
What were you told when you came out to chase?
I was just looking to play my natural game and be positive. They didn’t tell me anything. They didn’t put any pressure on me. I was just told to go and play my own game.
Would you say the quick fall of wickets cost you the match?
Yes, I think so. Because if we wouldn’t have lost so many wickets in the beginning, and then in between, we would have been able to chase down the target.
What challenges did you face while adjusting to bat in the top order?
At the start, I found it a little tough because I was trying too hard, not giving myself time and trying too much at the beginning itself. So, I decided that I should just give myself time and then runs would flow.
Being a batsman of the classical mould, how have you worked for batting in T20s?
I am playing the normal cricketing shots. I am not trying too hard; I am just trying to time the ball.
What was it like to bat out there today?
I think the pitch was a bit slow. We tried our best. Having a couple of wickets in hand in the end would have made a difference.
What has been it like to be part of the RR dressing room?
The experience has been really good. They have given me a lot of opportunities and they have given me a lot of support and confidence. So, I would like to thank the management for showing so much faith in me. Batting with someone like Shane Watson and having Rahul Dravid as a mentor, what are the things you have learnt?
I just try to pick the small things that they do on and off the field. Whenever I make a mistake, I try to go up to them and ask them about it, discuss it with them and try to improve my game.
What do you make of your IPL experience so far?
It has been good. I am trying to make good use of the opportunity I have got and I am trying to contribute to the team’s cause of winning matches.
There have been few consistent players in the Indian Premier League like Suresh Raina. The Chennai Super Kings batsman has featured in each and every match his team has played and has been either the team’s top or the second-highest run-getter in the six seasons so far. However, this season, his team’s openers – Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum – have been so prolific that he’s had just a couple of decent outings in 11 matches. In his most recent outing, against Royal Challengers Bangalore last weekend, he notched up his season-best score of 62 not-out and gave indications that he was ready to strike when opportunity came knocking his way. CSK will field a new opening pair at some point in the coming week when McCullum heads home to be with his wife for the birth of their child. There is no guarantee that the new opening pair will be as successful as Smith and McCullum, and that is when CSK will need Raina to be on top of his game. In the coming week, CSK will take on the Kolkata Knight Riders (at the Eden Gardens), followed by a home fixture against Sunrisers Hyderabad and an away game verses Royal Challengers Bangalore. Raina will, no doubt, be the key for CSK then.
The Kolkata Knight Riders have played at eight different venues this season. No matter the stadium, pitch or opposition, one player has always held his own in disparate conditions; Sunil Narine’s four overs have been very difficult to score off almost right through the season. Not only do batsmen fresh at the crease find it hard to pick him, even well-set batters find it difficult to get him away for runs. In the coming week, Narine and his team will play three matches at their home ground – the Eden Gardens – where the surfaces are expected to be low and slow, and known to assist spinners. Also, the KKR mystery bowler has incredible numbers while playing at the Eden Gardens; in 12 previous matches at the venue, he has picked up 20 wickets at a strike-rate of a wicket every 14 balls. More importantly, he has a staggering economy-rate of 4.79. It will be interesting to see how the likes of Suresh Raina, Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and David Warner counter him in the coming week.
Picture this. A fast bowler sees grass cover on the pitch, runs in hard, bends his back, bowls quick, gets the wicket to respond, as the ball takes off from the surface, reaching heights the batsmen find difficult to negotiate. Mitchell Johnson must be licking his lips at the prospect of bowling at the PCA Stadium in Mohali, which is one of the few venues in the country where pitches offers pace, movement and carry to quick bowlers. In the coming week, Kings XI Punjab play three matches at the venue – against the Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals and the Delhi Daredevils. Can’t wait to see Johnson do what he does best!
For the romantic Indian cricket fan, there are few sights that give more joy than watching Virender Sehwag in full flow. The 35-year-old – the only Indian triple-centurion in Test cricket – has entertained mostly with cameos this season, leaving his fans asking for more. In the coming week, Sehwag will play four matches – one in Delhi and three in Mohali. Though he will be playing for the visiting team, one can expect huge support from fans at Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium in Delhi, for Sehwag is very much one of their own.
Royal Challengers Bangalore’s win over the Chennai Super Kings last weekend has meant they are still in the race for a Playoffs spot. RCB are in such a precarious position because two of their batsmen – Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli – have found it difficult to score runs this season. The fact that Kohli, who believes in leading by example, is not among the runs is a huge worry for the Garden City franchise. The 25-year-old has had a dream run over the last couple of years, accumulating more runs in international cricket in the last 23 months than any other cricketer. He thrives under pressure, and given the position RCB are in – they cannot afford to lose one more match in the rest of the league stage – expect him to lead from the front with his bat. In the coming week, RCB will visit Hyderabad on May 20 and Kolkata on May 22, before winding up their league schedule with a home fixture against the Chennai Super Kings on May 24.