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Collective effort won us the game against Chennai

To win a game like this, after the batters (except for Rahul Dravid who’s been really consistent) struggled and we had only about 125 to defend, is really special, writes Anil Kumble.
None | By Anil Kumble/Hawkeye/Chivach Sport
UPDATED ON MAY 22, 2008 11:36 PM IST

It feels really nice to win again. We’ve had some tough times in the tournament and it’s nice to have the smiles back on the faces of everyone in the team.

To win a game like this, after the batters (except for Rahul Dravid who’s been really consistent) struggled and we had only about 125 to defend, is really special. To defend that score on a good wicket when the opposition is cruising along at 60 for no loss is a wonderful feeling.

We’ve done well in patches but consistency and momentum’s been an issue. In Wednesday’s game though, we probably got the best collective bowling performance and apart from a catch that I dropped, the fielding too was really good. The collective effort came through. I’ve figured that it’s all about the mindset and it makes for an interesting comparison. In a 50-over game, for instance, when the required run rate is over 6, you always back yourself as a fielding team. But in a T20 game, you suddenly feel it’s not much and at least 8.5 per over is needed to be relatively safe.

I think the increase in T20 cricket and the mindset changes it is consistently producing is definitely going to affect one-day cricket, especially the run chases. From time to time, we’ve had 300-plus chases, even a successful 400-plus once, and that’s going to become more common now.

Otherwise, in one-day cricket, because you have a lot more overs to play out, batsmen tend to think, ‘if I get out now, the pressure will be on the team and the batsmen that follow’. Here, if you have wickets in hand, you can afford to bat a lot more freely and more often than not, you also seem to ride the luck? Maybe fortune does favour the brave!

And the converse is equally true. When you’re in the dumps and have 126 to defend, if say, after 30 overs a team requires six runs an over, you still back yourself, and say, we can do it. That’s the kind of mindset you’ll have to adapt to in a T20 game.

The main difference is in things happening at a crazy pace in T20 cricket. You don’t have time to think. When Chennai were cruising at 60-0, I’m sure the batters waiting in the dugout weren’t thinking about how they’d have to bat. But three quick wickets and two overs changed the game in a flash.

You know, I’ve actually batted more in the last eight IPL matches than in eight 50-over games on the trot. When I realise that, it really feels strange. You would think that a No. 10 bat in a T20 game has no chance of batting but that’s not true. Weirdly, I can’t remember when I last batted so much in a one-day series.

Then again, the teams that do well in T20 have to have their top-order firing. If anyone has time to prepare, it’s those guys. That is why Mohali are riding high on Shaun Marsh, Sanath’s been fantastic for Mumbai, Chennai were on a roll when Hayden and Hussey were there, Fleming also has given Chennai some good starts. And of course, whenever

Delhi wins, the top three get the runs. In fact, when you play Delhi, most opposition bowlers would figure, get Gautam and Viru out early and put them

under pressure. For the rest, it’s tough to come out and whack the ball all over the place, as many of them haven’t had decent hits in the middle. Yusuf Pathan’s innings against Kolkata was an exception, a blinder.

Anyway, our win and Mumbai’s narrow loss to Mohali have probably upset a few people and encouraged others. Maybe Kolkata has a chance now and Delhi has to really win their games to keep themselves safe.

Rajasthan meanwhile are obviously up there. The big difference in them is that they’ve really come together as a team, where everyone’s contributing at different times. Like Kaif, who hadn’t got a look in otherwise, came good when it mattered in the last game. He played really well. Warne not only has won them games with his leadership and bowling but with bat too. Shane Watson has been in great form. Yusuf has been brilliant, as has been Graeme Smith. Asnodkar has done very well. It’s clear that the best-drilled teams are the ones that will do well in this format. Only Jaipur, plus Mumbai to an extent, is a unit where everyone’s had the opportunity to take their team to the finish line.

Bangalore IPL player & India Test skipper

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