Chennai Super Kings' premier spin bowler Harbhajan Singh was the cynosure of all eyes as he used his experience to the hilt and took three important, top order wickets, to send Royal Challengers Bangalore tumbling out in their first Indian Premier League match at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday.
"It is nice to be on the winning side and contributing, especially taking the wickets of Virat (Kohli) AB (de Villiers) and Moeen (Ali). This is the kind of performance that is expected from me, being the senior bowler in the side. Though people might think that I am old but the experience is something I have gained over the years, which no one can take away from me. I am glad to contribute to the win," Harbhajan said, in a media interaction, after the match.
The ace spinner said his team and he were surprised at the amount of purchase they got from the wicket. "It was a wicket where it was holding a bit. We honestly didn't expect it to turn so much as it did today. We played a practice match here and the wicket was a good one. We would have loved to play on a wicket that wouldn't spin as much as this did," he said.
Harbhajan said he was happy to be bowling in the powerplay. "It is nice to get wickets under your belt. Last year, I played a few games, bowled few overs, went for runs and didn't get to bowl later. It is good to get a game like today and get wickets. It gives a lot of confidence for players like me who don't play a lot of cricket and spend time with my daughter and family. Hopefully from here I get to bowl a little more than what I have got. I am ready to bowl six or even 20 overs whenever the team needs me," he added.
RCB’s assistant coach and former England player Vikram Solanki too felt the pitch was far from ideal where batting was pretty difficult but said his team could have done better in terms of partnerships.
“I don't think we played well enough and CSK was by far the better side. We were surprised by spin and lack of pace and it spun far more than we thought. It was probably not an ideal pitch as it was not an even contest. You need an opportunity to score as well.”
Solanki conceded the team could have done better in revising to a realistic target saying, “Perhaps 120-130 would have been enough, but batting first in the first game in the tournament we needed to be brave and say maybe should have looked to get to 100 and look at things. We needed just one partnership and if necessary could have even played ugly and dug in to stop the rut of constant wickets.”