It was not the best of starts after getting the opportunity to use the pitch first. Two wickets in the first four balls do not augur well, especially when you are teeing off against the holders.
Also, it doesn’t send out the right message from a team which is determined to make a mark. More than the bowling doing the damage, it was improper shot-selection that led to the initial hiccup.
After the quick departure of our first four, the team desperately needed someone to drop anchor. Owais Shah fitted into the role smoothly. Not only did he keep one end up, he also rotated the strike well, mixing it with the occasional big hits. Owais got a well-deserved fifty and he and Angelo Mathews set the platform for our win.
In the limited version of the game you have to play your natural game. This is not Test cricket, where you have the opportunity to settle down, take measure of the situation and then take control.
Angelo tried to be normal, walked out and started batting the way he likes to. The best part was that he was not slogging. There were some pure cricketing shots which went the distance.
With Angelo taking charge, Owais just had to provide his partner maximum support. I am confident we’ll hear more of Angelo during this tournament. He is a good batter, a useful bowler and a decent fielder. With 160 on the board, we knew we could give the opponents a run for their money. But, for that, we needed to be spot-on with our bowling and also catch anything and everything that came our way.
Like our batting, we didn’t have a great start while fielding. Gilchrist was initially lucky to get away. There was a moment when we desperately needed a break and Murali Kartik got it at the right time.
With Laxman’s exit, the scoring rate dipped, because every time you have a new batsman, he is bound to spend some time to get used to the pitch. Our bowlers also settled down and the middle-overs were an example of disciplined bowling.
The bowlers bowled to a set plan and, with every passing moment, the pressure shifted from us to our opponents.
The bounce at the DY Patil Stadium is spongy. Batting second was a bit tough, as the pitch was losing pace with every passing over. Ultimately, the cookie crumbled, wickets started to tumble and it was a well-fought victory for us.
We play our first home match against the Royal Challengers. They have some seasoned campaigners such as Dravid, Kumble and Kallis who will come hard at us.
There is always pressure playing at home and, with our nail-biting victory in Mumbai, expectations are bound to soar. The youngsters in my team have gained in confidence from this victory. We have to tighten ourselves in every department if we intend to keep the momentum going. Maybe, after a good first match at home we can tell ourselves, what a way to start!