To be able to lead the side to a table-topping win with the bat, is a double-delight for me. We had to fight hard for our victory against the Pune Warriors and to make it home from that situation gives us the confidence to win games from any position. The man-of-the-match is a bonus, but at the end of the day, what counted was the fifth win in the competition, closing in on a few more that will take us through to the playoffs.
It was an all-round effort; we were able to time the chase rather well after the bowlers had done a brilliant job in restricting the Warriors to what they did. At 70/1 in eight and something overs, 160 had looked achievable for the Warriors but the way that our bowlers came back in the second half of the innings was commendable.
Warne is still the world's best leg spinner
One side of the boundary was farther than the other and it was a concerted effort to bowl the short ball while bowling from one end. Watson's 1/19 off his four overs speaks about how difficult it was to get him and his heavy ball away, even when one would have expected the batsmen to go after the bowlers. Watson aside, at the expense of being repetitive, for the second game in a row, we had our bowling plans that were executed to perfection by the bowling unit.
As a batting unit, we try to approach it with a clear mindset. With the last ten overs to go, our task was to try and get a boundary every one or two overs and we believe that even 10 or 11 runs per over are achievable in the last three or four.
It is obviously not easy to do what Ashok Menaria did though, putting every bad ball that came his way, away, and it helped take a lot of pressure off my shoulders at the start my knock. Ajinkya Rahane's approach was more measured and his maturity seemed far beyond his years at this format of the game. Loss of wickets is a momentum-killer at such a stage and Rahane's sojourn was most assuring.
As would be evident, the slog-sweep over square-leg and mid-wicket is a shot that I have grown used to playing over the years. As a youngster, I used to play a lot of hockey which is where that stroke seems to have stemmed from and over the year remained with me!
We travel to Chennai next in an away game and against a side which has done as well at home as we have. In fact, there are a couple of games in succession against the Super Kings, but the good thing is that there is a sufficient gap between the games.
It will be a challenge for us to start winning more consistently, in the away games and nothing better than to try to overcome a side that does so well in their own conditions. We have regained our momentum back with the three wins as have the Super Kings, which makes this a potentially exciting clash.
Professional Management Group