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South African fast bowler Marchant de Lange has now played for two big franchises in the IPL. He represented the Kolkata Knight Riders in the past and is now playing for the Mumbai Indians in Pepsi IPL 2014. While the stint with KKR helped de Lange learn a lot from Wasim Akram – KKR’s bowling coach – with the Mumbai Indians, the fast bowler aims to shadow Lasith Malinga, who seems to have made quite an impact on the 23-year-old.
In his debut game for the Mumbai Indians on Friday, de Lange did not get his wickets tally soaring, but he sure lived up every moment in front of a packed house at Wankhede Stadium as his team sealed a crucial win. In this post-match chat with IPLT20.com, de Lange speaks about his debut and his goal to learn as much as he can from Lasith Malinga during his MI stint. Excerpts from his interview:
How has the transition from the Knight Riders to the Mumbai Indians been?
It has been a good change. I had a great time with the Kolkata Knight Riders, who have a brilliant team and a good vibe. There is also a good vibe here with the Mumbai Indians and I am enjoying the atmosphere and the vibe here. The Mumbai Indians are a very proud franchise and they are proud of every individual in the team. And when you talk about Mumbai Indians, you cannot help but think about Sachin Tendulkar. To have the presence of a cricket legend like Sachin Tendulkar is always special. It is a big honour.
Your first game for the Mumbai Indians and that too at home; enjoyed it?
Absolutely! It is an excellent crowd and the supporters of the Mumbai Indians are brilliant. It is a great feeling to be out there in the middle and bowl in front of such a beautiful crowd. I am proud to play for the Mumbai Indians and it was a great opportunity for me to get a chance here.
You spoke about getting a chance. What kept you going when you were not getting a chance to feature in the playing XI?
The whole motive during that period was to stay fit and try and stay at the top of your game if you get an opportunity like tonight. Sometimes, it is tough to be on the bench and you need to be calm, motivate yourself and stay in the moment. If your mental side of the game is prepared, then you will be fine. The Delhi Daredevils needed 32 in the last two overs, and you were asked to bowl the penultimate over. Were you nervous?
I would not call them nerves, but as a bowler, I know for a fact that in this format of the game you always stand an opportunity to get that many runs in the last two overs. I just backed myself in that over and tried my best to execute what I am capable of. I took it ball by ball, and I am glad I didn’t give away too many runs in that penultimate over. You spoke about the presence of Sachin Tendulkar. But as a bowler, how much have you taken from Lasith Malinga?
I have not been training with him a lot in the nets, but I have been speaking a lot to him about the game off the field. He has brilliant knowledge and is an unbelievable cricketer. He is really like a mentor to all the young bowlers in the Mumbai Indians. My goal is to be like Lasith Malinga, who is one of the best death bowlers in the world. I would also love to become better while bowling at the start of the innings. I want to work on my opening bowling, when only two fielders are outside the circle. As a cricketer, I still have a lot to learn and grow.
The big stage and a big game; was it also a happy debut for you?
It was a brilliant debut for me and to play my first game in front of the home crowd is special. It is enjoyable to play at the Wankhede. I had the privilege to play for KKR at the Eden Gardens and now I consider myself lucky to be playing for MI at Wankhede. It is my dream come true.
It was David Warner all the way in Ranchi on Thursday. But one look at the Chennai Super Kings batting card and you would see two notable contributions – one from CSK captain MS Dhoni and the other one from middle-order batsman David Hussey, who brought up his first IPL half-century this season in only his second outing in yellow. Hussey laboured his way to a 29-ball 25 in his first game, but looked in good touch in his second.
He stitched an unbeaten 108-run stand with his captain for the fourth wicket to guide the Super Kings to a score of 185 in their 20 overs. He was disappointed that his team did not end up on the winning side, but like everyone else, applauded David Warner for his match-winning contribution for the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Excerpts from his interview:
You got the runs on the board, but it was David Warner’s night, wasn’t it?
David Warner played nicely, didn’t he? He struck the ball beautifully. I thought we had a winnable score on the board and it took a special innings from David to win the game for their team.
As a fielding side, what do you do when David Warner is on song?
That’s a tough one. Just try and get him off strike, maybe? Tonight was a perfect example of how good a player he is. He hit the ball sweetly from ball-one. The plan would be to try and close him up a bit because he is so good at freeing his arms; he picks deliveries at will and you would want to try and get him off strike as much possible. He is a very fine player and it was a very fine knock.
Is this the best you have watched Warner bat so far in the IPL?
I haven’t really watched him play that much, but I guess it is probably one of the better knocks I have seen him play this IPL. He just played out of his skin tonight.
On a personal note, are you happy to get your first half-century this season?
It is a good feeling, but after the loss, it is probably a bittersweet feeling. It is nice to contribute to the team, but it is disappointing that we lost. There are a lot of positives to take from that as well. We have another game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore and we have got to focus on that. We need to pull our socks a little bit and hopefully we can finish among the top two.
After your first game, what did you do differently today with regards to your batting?
I worked on rotating the strike early as Dhoni keeps telling me to take it as long and far as you can go and to catch up at the backend of the innings. Probably it was a different mindset tonight during my batting.
You shared an unbeaten century stand with MS Dhoni; how did he plan the innings, especially after he had a rather silent start?
MS Dhoni just came out and played they way he can play and he caught up at the backend of the innings, in the last over by Dale Steyn, which put us in a good position. It is nice to bat with someone who is so cool and calm under all this pressure.
Do you feel MS Dhoni is one of the best finishers of the game?
Yes, he is and I am glad he is in our team. To put us into a decent position like that and to finish off the last over the way he did against one of the better fast bowlers around is commendable. It was brilliant hitting.