Nitish Rana: 'I play well under pressure'

Delhi Daredevils’ bowling coach, Sridharan Sriram, believes that the quick-fire knock of Andre Russell overshadowed the gritty innings of young Nitish Rana, who scored 59, to help Kolkata Knight Riders outclass Daredevils.

Nitish Rana credits Kolkata Knight Riders for putting up a brilliant show against Gautam Gambhir’s men.   -  AP

Delhi Daredevils’ bowling coach, Sridharan Sriram, believes that the quick-fire knock of Andre Russell overshadowed the gritty innings of young Nitish Rana, who scored 59, to help Kolkata Knight Riders outclass Daredevils.

But Rana differs with Sriram. The youngster, who has been in prime form in this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), credits the team for putting up a brilliant show against Gautam Gambhir’s men.

Excerpts…

On whether his innings was overshadowed by Andre Russell’s firepower?

My role is different from Russell’s and I know when I am in good touch. The game plan is that I stay till the end, and ensure that Russell is also there at the other end. The idea is to make sure that the big-hitters do their job. That’s the plan.

READ: Clinical Knight Riders decimates Daredevils in 71-run win

On whether his knock was the turning point?

The entire team has contributed. Kuldeep’s two wickets were really important for the team. He dismissed Risabh Pant and Maxwell. At that time, those wickets were important. In my opinion, my role was nothing great. I just did my job in my respective department. Everyone has been assigned a particular department and we have to tick the right boxes. We are winning because all the members of the team are playing their parts well.

What was the game plan?

The game plan was to stay till the end. I was reading the ball well, just like the first match. I played well in the first and the third game, it’s just that I was unlucky. I am in good touch, so my aim is to hold fort at one end and give my best. When spinners come to the attack, my job gets easier. So, when they unleashed two spinners, the plan was to bat as long as I could.

How crucial was this game for KKR?

It was a very important game because we lost the last two games, so this was crucial. In my last press conference also I had made it clear that when the pressure mounts up, my performance gets better. Yes, there was pressure, but I had fun in the middle.

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Why did they target Mohammed Shami, who struggled in the middle?

There was no planning. If I get a ball in a good length, I will obviously go for it. If I can’t find the length, then Russell comes to the fore. That’s how we go about it. I changed strikes, and went for strokes whenever I found a comfortable delivery. Shami was bowling then, so we had to go after him. We also went after Chris Morris. Nadeem also conceded more than 40 runs.

How did it feel to perform in front of Gautam Gambhir, who helped him a lot in domestic cricket?

Whenever you play a good innings, you are bound to be satisfied. It’s not that I enjoy too much scoring particularly against his side. I am a batsman, who is given a particular role. If I can stick to my role, then I am happy with it. I did not speak to him after the match.

On whether the team finally looks settled?

The team had a settled look in the last game as well. In the first game, we played some real good cricket in all departments. Overall, the team’s moral is really high, it’s just that we have finally been able to make a few changes that we have been trying to do for a while. The team will only improve from here.

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On whether he will ask captain Dinesh Karthik to give him a few overs of bowling again?

If it is required, I will definitely bowl a few overs. For that, I don’t need to remind the captain. He is such an experienced player. I did not even expect to bowl in the first game, but in that time, my contribution was required. Luckily, I could deliver the goods. If there is a need, I will definitely bowl again.

What is the strategy for the match against Rajasthan Royals?

We will talk about it in the team meeting and then decide.