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Half the side was back in the dugout and the Kolkata Knight Riders needed 32 runs off 21 balls when Suryakumar Yadav came in to bat. He was yet to open his account when the well-set Manish Pandey was also sent back by Karanveer Singh and Piyush Chawla joined him in the middle. After a relatively quiet over by Akshar Patel, and with 15 required off the last two overs, Surya, who had struck the all-important six to take his team into the Finals, looked to take on Mitchell Johnson in the penultimate over. However, this time he holed out to deep midwicket and returned for five. But Chawla then took the team across the line.
While speaking to IPLT20.com later, Surya spoke about the nervous final moments and the faith in he had in Chawla to take the team to the target.
Excerpts from his brief interview:
What was going through your mind while batting?
When I went in to bat, it was a simple, the message was simple – try and play till the end. We knew that two fast bowlers are going to bowl the last two overs. So, we rotated the strike when Akshar Patel was bowling because it was really difficult to score runs off him. And when Mitchell Johnson came on to bowl, because I have played him last year with Mumbai Indians as well, I thought that it is better if I go after him and put pressure on him and try to finish it (or bring it close) in the 19th over, so that there is no pressure in the last over. But I wasn’t successful. But now it’s okay. You can see the result. We have been talking that 200 is a chaseable target on this ground. It wasn’t chased easily today, but it was a cracker of a game and I am really happy. What was the pitch was like?
It was holding a bit. The spinners, especially Akshar Patel, really bowled well. It was holding a bit, but at the end of the day, the result was in our favour.
How nervous were you when you came out to bat in a crunch situation?
I was very nervous. This was the first big final that I was playing. I played 14 games in a row and then came into the final. When I got up in the morning, I was really nervous and my heart was racing. I can’t express how much. But after winning now, I am slowly feeling better. We backed each other and we have won and we are happy for that.
What was it like in the dugout when you got out, and Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine were in the middle with 13 runs needed off 10 balls?
We were quite positive because they have been batting well in the nets as well. And Piyush Chawla is also a recognised batsman for us and he has proved himself in the last game against KXIP in Kolkata (Qualifier 1) as well. We knew that he has the capability to do it and he did it.
In you first season with KKR you are part of the winning side. How is the feeling?
I can’t express. It will take some time for me to get back and think about this moment. It was a good game and I am very happy for my team. It was a superb team effort from everyone.
What was talk at the innings break?
We were positive in the dressing room. We just kept our nerves. The message to everyone was to just stay calm. We have three Karnataka boys in our team who have been playing here for long. And they provided a lot of positives for us. We didn’t look back and just kept batting. We didn’t think too much about the run-rate, who is going to bowl and such things.
Joy cannot come in a form purer than Virender Sehwag batting at his best – simple, effortless. All present at Wankhede Stadium for Qualifier 2 of Pepsi IPL 2014 between KXIP and CSK will vouch for it. For they saw one of Sehwag’s most marauding innings – he pummeled the CSK bowling attack to the tune of 122 off 58 balls. The ball sailed over the boundary rope eight times for six runs and a dozen times for fours. For those few minutes, Sachin Tendulkar’s kingdom was ruled by Virender Sehwag.
On the back of Sehwag’s second IPL century, KXIP romped to their first ever IPL Final, where they take on Kolkata Knight Riders, in Bangalore. The man of the moment, in a chat with IPLT20.com, hoped his best will come out in the grand finale.
Here are excerpts from Sehwag’s exclusive interview:
Today, it was your turn to play book cricket?
Yes, it was. It’s been a long time; I played 14 games and got the starts. I knew that a big innings was around the corner. But I’d like to believe that the best is yet to come and hopefully it will come in Bangalore in the next game. Let’s hope we play the same quality of cricket in the Final that we have throughout the tournament.
Some players get a feeling when they’re walking out to bat that it’s going to be their day. Did you feel that today?
A couple of people actually called me. One of them was the BCCI Treasurer, Mr. Anirudh Chaudhary. He called me in the morning and said, ‘Boss, I have a feeling that today is going to be your day’. It was nice of him to make me realise that. When I walked in to bat today, I told myself, ‘If today is indeed my day, the Chennai Super Kings have to pay’!
Was there anything you did differently in this innings?
Nothing, I just played the way I have been playing for the last 15 years. It was just one of those days when the no matter where I hit the ball, it went for a four or a six. I am really thankful to our coach, Sanjay Bangar, who told me that I have to stay there for 15-16 overs. He has been backing me all the time and has motivated me throughout, telling me, ‘You have a lot of cricket left in you, so just believe in yourself and your abilities’.
Which of your IPL centuries do you like better – this one or the 119 in 2011 for DD?
I cannot choose between the two. Both are equally special because they came in winning causes.
You played some breathtaking shots today. Any particular one you enjoyed the most?
That six that I hit off Ashish Nehra off a back-of-a-length delivery that went over his head – I was actually shocked when it went for a six!
What is the mid-pitch conversation like when you and Maxwell are batting together? Do you even talk?
Not really. I was just focusing on my game today and I had told myself to concentrate on my batting rather than my partner’s. But yes, we did enjoy each other’s company in the middle and applauded each other’s shots.
Your son must be feeling right now that his dad is a superhero!
Absolutely! He has finally seen one of my good innings.
Arjun Tendulkar was here wearing a KXIP jersey cheering for you too.
Was he? I didn’t see him, but if he was here, it was very nice of him to come and support us. I thank him and Sachin, both.