Malinga made huge difference

WIDE ANGLE

Malinga made huge difference

It does hurt every time you lose, but we were undone by another fantastic display of quick, full, swing bowling from Lasith Malinga. His brilliance made a huge difference. He had already done plenty of damage for the Mumbai Indians in the first game against Delhi Daredevils, and I can say with confidence that he will do more damage as the IPL progresses.

As a batsman what makes Malinga extremely hard to pick is the trajectory of the ball. He delivers the ball fairly low with his round-arm action, and the ball stays low all the way through to the batsman. That, coupled with his pace and late swing, make him quite a handful.

We at the Royal Challengers must cast that defeat aside and look ahead to the immediate future. We have three matches lined up in the next six days, and it will be important from our point of view to regather some of the momentum and initiative we had gained by winning our first match of the tournament in Kochi.

Ours is a fairly new team, hugely revamped from the side we had in the first three seasons, and for that reason alone, it will take a few games for the boys to come together, to gel as a unit and to understand each other’s games. In Dan Vettori, we have an excellent captain, a proven leader who has done wonders with New Zealand. He has the ability to inspire the team and get the best out of the players, and I know that he is desperately keen to ensure the Royal Challengers make a strong pitch this season.
Dan is also a crafty bowler, as he again proved against Mumbai. He believes in setting an example and leading from the front, and it’s extremely pleasing to see that he has instantly fitted in to our scheme of things.

From a batsman’s perspective, Twenty20 cricket might appear to be very rushed, what with only 120 deliveries available in which to score as many runs as possible. Sometimes, in a bid to maximise those deliveries, you can easily end up losing wickets in a rush and fold up inside 20 overs. It’s imperative, from a team and individual perspective, that you bat out the innings, size up situations, and work out when to attack and when to fall back a little bit, especially if the bowler is having a good day.

Equally, as a bowler, it’s important to have a huge heart. Twenty20, like most other formats, is a batsman’s game, so as a bowler, you must show character and the ability to take punishment. At the same time, it’s also a challenge for the bowler to outwit and out-think the batsman, because it’s easier to take wickets when a batsman is trying to attack you than when he is trying to play you out.

One or two tight overs at the death can make the difference between victory and defeat. The bare fact is that, no matter what, you must keep fighting till the end, because T20 games can change in the bat of an eyelid!

Hawkeye Communications/ Chivach Sport

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