Sandeep: ‘Each bowler played his role superbly’

Sunrisers Hyderabad seamer Sandeep Sharma praised his bowling group for helping pull off another victory in a low-scoring encounter.

Sandeep Sharma contributed significantly in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s win, taking two wickets for 17 runs in his four overs.   -  Sportzpics/IPL

Sunrisers Hyderabad is filled with confidence at having successfully defended two low totals in back-to-back Indian Premier League (IPL) contests, the team’s fast bowler Sandeep Sharma has said. On Thursday night at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium here, Kings XI Punjab failed to get over the line in its chase of a modest total of 133.

When asked about the absence of fellow fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep said, “Frankly, each one of the bowlers played his role superbly in defending such a low total. Hope Bhuvi will be fit soon.”

Sandeep himself played a significant role in not allowing Bhuvneshwar’s absence be felt. His double blow in the 16th over precipitated Kings XI’s downfall. Sandeep pointed to other breakthroughs at crucial junctures in the chase that also led to a cumulative effect — leg-spinner Rashid Khan’s dismissal of attacking opener K. L. Rahul and Basil Thampi’s removal of the dangerous Chris Gayle.

‘Positive’ Kane

Also contributing to the victory was Kane Williamson’s captaincy. Sandeep was impressed by the “positive” demeanour of the Kiwi. “The best part is that Kane is always positive. His advice even when Gayle and Rahul were going strong was just not to look at the scoreboard but to give off our best, try to take wickets. That worked for us. If the leader is so positive, you can only expect positive vibes for the entire team,” Sandeep said.

Sandeep elaborated on the strategy to help tighten the noose around batsmen on a pitch difficult for them to play their shots. “Normally, I bowl with the new ball for I tend to read the pitch quickly and in a position to tell the other bowlers as how to go ahead with the task. I felt tonight the knuckle ball and the slower ones should be tried and not bowling seam up was the better option as it was never easy to hit on this pitch,” Sandeep explained.

Ashwin: We attacked too much

Kings XI Punjab captain R. Ashwin outlined two contributing factors for his team’s loss — it attacked too much, and lost wickets in the middle. “But, these things happen in this format, have a long season still,” he said.

“We fielded badly. Dropped too many catches for a 20-over game. If we had taken at least couple of them we could have restricted them to 20 runs less,” he said.

Ashwin praised seamer Ankit Rajpoot, whose spell of five for 14 in four overs helped derail Sunrisers. “Well, Rajpoot is tall, nippy, gets the ball swing around, hit the good lengths in the first few overs. Not every day do you get five wickets in a T20 innings; he bowled pretty well. But, still we need to solve all the puzzles. Hopefully, those in whom we have great trust will come good soon,” Ashwin said.

“Yes, we do have a finisher but [it’s] not coming off. We want to get all the puzzles solved; it’s a long tournament. Hopefully, some of the people we trusted will come good at the right time. That’s how we keep going. They are quality players,” he said.

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