SANATH JAYASURIYA ON THE WIN AGAINST KNIGHT RIDERS
Monday night’s clash with Knight Riders was a big game for us and winning it so convincingly was a welcome confidence boost, lifting us into the top four of the table. Wednesday’s clash against Kings XI Punjab might be a harder test as they are picking up some momentum.
We were lucky to win the toss at Port Elizabeth giving us the chance of putting up a total. As is the case all around the world, chasing is often tough under lights. Fortunately, both Sachin (Tendulkar) and I were able to get-off to a good start. Ishant Sharma was always going to be a key threat and we felt a good start against him would be crucial.
Sachin has been in glorious touch all tournament and he made life easy for me at the beginning of the innings. It is a joy batting at the other end with him. He was the one that launched the attack and after that I just tried to feed him as much of the strike as possible. It was about four overs before I hit my first boundary.
Some days things just fall into place and Monday night was one of those. We are both
experienced and we both looked to play our natural aggressive game. Everything clicked and it was great fun. My only regret was that the 127-run stand did not lead to a total of around 200. We let things slip a bit at the end and that’s an area to work on.
One big difference for us this year is having a fully fit Lasith Malinga. Sitting at the top of the wicket-taker’s list, he’s been penetrative and economical with new and old ball. When you see him charging in, bowling with great pace and control, you realise just how much he’s been missed by Sri Lanka in the past year after his knee injury. He’s a natural wicket-taker.
We always knew that Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum had the capacity to chase down the 188-run target. History was always in our favour under lights, but Gayle especially is such a brutal player. So Lasith having McCullum caught in the gully in his first over was a crucial blow. When Dwayne Bravo snared Gayle, I was confident of a victory.
At the end, Lasith once again illustrated his value at the death of the innings. His ability to bowl at pace into the block hole can be devastating against the lower order. With Lasith, Zaheer, Bravo and Harbhajan we undoubtedly have one of the best attacks in the competition.
However, the performance of Abhishek Nayar should not be forgotten amongst the big names. He did a brilliant job for us taking the wickets of Brad Hodge and Sourav Ganguly.