‘Stay calm’ was Muralitharan’s advise to his wards

SRH’s Bowling Coach reflects on the performance of bowlers in the grand finale

Bengaluru 30 May 2016
As the ‘Gayle storm’ brewed at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Muttiah Muralitharan’s message to his wards was to stay calm to be able to weather the storm. The legendary spinner, who had plotted the downfall of a many a great batsman during his playing days, kept the Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling unit on the task as they defended the 208-run total in the VIVO IPL 2016 final.

Speaking to after the thumping win to lift the trophy, the SRH bowling coach discussed his team’s bowlers, the strategy employed, and also credited the batsmen, especially Ben Cutting, for giving them a competitive total to defend in the all important game.

Excerpts from the interview:

What had you told your bowlers as they came out to defend the total against the power-packed RCB line-up?

A score in excess of 200 runs is always a very good total. But we knew that they have three dangerous batsmen; we had to get them. We have the bowlers and Mustafizur (Rahman) and Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) were fantastic, as well as the other bowlers. If Chris Gayle and Virat (Kohli) get going it is always very hard. But our batsman had put up a good total (for the bowlers) to defend. (David) Warner batted really well, (and so did) Yuvraj (Singh) and Shikhar Dhawan and especially Ben Cutting – these four guys put up a total of more than 200 runs which was the most important thing.

Tell us how you prepared the unit with a pace attack?

We didn’t have very great spinners, we depended on fast bowlers. Our last four overs were very good in the tournament. So we stuck to our plans and what are our strengths are, and according to that we prepared the team to bowl.

SRH won three knockout matches including the final. What had the coaching staff told the team?

It is all about giving confidence to the boys and (asking them to) play (to the best of their abilities). The (message was) the result can be anything, but you do your job. They have to be calm and very sensible; so they played the game the way they wanted to play, and the end result was a win.

What was your message to the boys when Gayle was fire?

Just calm down (Just stay calm). They are hitting hard; we needed to get two people out and then the run rate will increase. That is what happened. It was our day and we had to win the match.

What are your thoughts on the win?

It feels fantastic because as a player I have won many trophies, but as a coach (this is the) first time. It’s a wonderful feeling because winning the IPL is a great thing. It’s a good experience for the young boys. Also, it’s good for our franchise because it is the first time we are winning as a new franchise. It is great for everybody.
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