After guiding Sunrisers Hyderabad to their maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) title, bowling coach Muttiah Muralitharan said he asked his bowlers to “calm down” when Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) openers Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli went mercilessly after them during the run chase.
Hyderabad pipped RCB by eight runs to bag their maiden IPL title at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Sunday.
Revealing their strategy, the Sri Lankan legend said he had asked his bowlers to maintain their cool when both Kohli and Gayle were on the rampage during their 114-run opening stand.
“Just calm down. They are hitting hard; we needed to get two people out and then the (required) run rate will increase. That is what happened. It was our day and we had to win the match,” the legendary off-spinner was quoted as saying by iplt20.com.
“A score in excess of 200 runs is always a very good total. But we knew that they have three dangerous batsmen; we had to get them. We have the bowlers and Mustafizur (Rahman) and Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) were fantastic, as well as the other bowlers. If Chris Gayle and Virat get going, it is always very hard. But our batsmen had put up a good total to defend,” he added.
The David Warner-led side made it to the play-offs, finishing third in the points table with 16 points and then won the next three matches - eliminator, second qualifier and final - to lift the title.
When asked what was the key to win three consecutive knock-out matches, Murali said it was all about playing the game to potential.
“It is all about giving confidence to the boys and asking them to play to the best of their abilities. The message was that the result can be anything, but you do your job. They have to be calm and very sensible; so they played the game the way they wanted to play, and the end result was a win,” he said.
The 44-year-old, who won many accolades during his playing days, said it feels “fantastic” to win a tournament as a coach.
“It feels fantastic because as a player I have won many trophies, but as a coach it’s first time. It’s a wonderful feeling because winning the IPL is a great thing. It’s a good experience for the young boys. Also, it’s good for our franchise because it is the first time we have won,” he said.