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It was yet another nerve-wracking last ball finish for the Delhi Daredevils, who finished on the right side of the result to keep themselves in the reckoning for a spot in the VIVO IPL 2016 playoffs. Top-order batsman Karun Nair played a determined knock to pull the home team across the line against the Sunrisers Hyderabad and set the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Cricket Stadium in Naya Raipur abuzz with excitement.
With a new partner, Sanju Samson who had joined him in the penultimate over, Karun helped beat SRH by six wickets. With 11 runs required off the last over, the pair had picked only five off the first four deliveries and then the DD No. 3 batsman smacked Bhuvneshwar Kumar past mid-off after he was handed the strike. He then beat David Warner to the boundary off the last ball to take the team to an all-important win. Speaking to iplt20.com about the last over, Karun said, “I was a bit nervous because I think we (had) slowed down a little bit in the last couple of overs. I am really happy that I could take the team through to the end and stay there not out at the end.”
“I was just thinking of getting that one boundary. In two balls we needed to get one boundary. There was nothing going on in my mind apart from staying positive and staying still,” he had said while speaking to the media.
During his 59-ball stay after coming to the crease in the second over, Karun had built a solid 73-run stand with Rishabh Pant to set-up the game, followed by useful stands with JP Duminy, Carlos Brathwaite and Sanju as he anchored the innings. “It was a really good wicket to bat. It is a big outfield so it was difficult to get the boundaries. So what we concentrated on was running hard and hitting the ball in the gaps,” he told iplt20.com while talking about his plan and how he built partnerships during the 83-run knock.
Asked what his advise to each of his partners was as the match headed to a tight finish, Karun said, “It is just that we needed partnerships and just to rotate the strike and find the gaps. There was nothing much that we were talking about; (we were) just (trying to) get the partnerships to get through.”
With the pressure of a must-win game staring at them, the team held their nerve to beat the table-toppers. Speaking about the team’s preparations, the batsman said, “We were just thinking of winning one game at a time, we weren’t thinking of anything else, just one game at a time. So I am really happy that I was able to contribute to the team’s victory and now we go into the next game with the confidence to win that game as well.”
“There was no pressure put on us. We had to play one ball at a time and look for a win. It is one game down now and one more to go,” he mentioned, when asked about the directions from the team’s coaching staff.
Speaking about the timely match-winning knock and how he rated it, Karun stated, “It should be my best knock because first of all it is my highest score in the IPL, the team won (at the same time) and I remained not out as well. So (it was a) really satisfying knock and I hope I get one more in the next game and then more in the playoffs.”
While Karun Nair led the Delhi Daredevils’ chase with a supreme batting effort, Carlos Brathwaite set the tone for the hosts with an outstanding fielding and bowling performance in the must-win game against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Playing against the table-toppers, the Zaheer Khan-led team needed to pull off a win to stay in the competition for a place in the playoffs of VIVO IPL 2016. And the all-rounder showed the way by running out Shikhar Dhawan at the non-striker’s end in quick motion in his follow through after the opener had hit the ball towards mid-on.
Brathwaite then returned to claim Yuvraj Singh’s off-stump and later sent back the in-form David Warner, who was milking the DD attack, to leave SRH on 117 for five in the last quarter of the game. His efforts then continued with the bat as well; contributing a vital 10 runs towards the winning cause.
Reflecting on his performance in the game, Brathwaite credited the team effort for the win while speaking to iplt20.com. Excerpts:
How much do you think the way you fielded impacted the game?
The first six overs they were batting like slippery eels. So it was nice that the impact that it had to get the run out. (But I) must commend the boys and the overall team effort in the middle overs, not only the bowlers but also the effort in the outfield. Cutting the twos and cutting runs like that, it forced them to hit over the top and it is a very big boundary. So very well done to the fielders, very good effort by the entire team.
Do you think that you had restricted SRH well?
It was a good cricket wicket. As a bowler if you put something in you will get something out. As a batsman if you spend time (in the middle), as Karun (and) showed as David Warner showed as well (you could score runs). It was a matter of getting in. We speak about partnerships; we had a very nice partnership between Karun and (Rishabh) Pant. They set it up so well for Sanju (Samson), myself and JP (Duminy) in the end that we only had to play cameos around Karun. Karun steadied the ship (and) played a top class innings.
What were your plans for David Warner who seemed unstoppable?
My plan was to bowl my best ball. Guys have shots all round these day, bats are massive, boundaries are small, (but) thankfully today we had bigger boundaries (and) so (there was) a lot more margin for error. But my philosophy is to bowl my best ball and if I do that (and) the batsman plays a good shot then kudos to him. Warner played well, (however) thankfully I got that wicket and that kind of put them on the backfoot a bit. Happy that we didn’t allow them to get a lot of partnerships and that I think was the key in the end. DD seems to have a ‘horses for courses’ policy, can you elaborate on that?
It was just a matter of playing in; no matter what plan the coach has, whether it is ‘horses for courses’ or a settled playing eleven, it doesn’t matter if the team is into it each and everyone plays their best game each and every time you step out on the field. We want to do our best - that’s how it goes. Ups and downs are there, you will win some and you will lose some. Everyone enjoys it on and off the field (and) that is key to success. We are backing our processes and letting the results take care of themselves. (We have) one more result to take care of itself (and) we can make it to the playoffs.
How much pressure did you experience in playing this must-win game? What was going through your mind?
There is always pressure, but I always try to simply it - just put bat on ball (or) if I have the ball in hand, then just bowl my best ball. We play a lot of cricket and we put a lot of emphasis on the game itself but there are a lot more troubling things going on in the world. If you take a step back, will put everything into perspective; then cricket is just a game, to be fair. We always prepare. And once you get a situation like this that’s what you prepare for; (so) back your preparation, keep it simple and let the result take care of itself.
The win has kept DD in the race and also thrown the points table open, what is mood in the dressing room?
For the IPL, it is massive. Any tournament that has six teams fighting for four spots is a champion tournament in my opinion. We can only control what we can control. Our job was to win today’s game. The next part of the job is to win on the 22nd May against RCB. That is again a tough challenge as well and once we control what we can control then everything else can take care of itself.