When you play an innings like the one Murali Vijay did against Delhi Daredevils in a crunch encounter, it is hard not to foresee a deluge of congratulatory messages. That Vijay was busy thanking his well-wishers over the phone even as he walked in to address the press was but understandable.
“I just went in and started striking the ball. It was hot and humid and I had to take a lot of singles and doubles. This was a special knock. I couldn't have asked for more.”
The Tamil Nadu opener said he hadn't envisaged a 200 plus total despite the team's flying start. “After the first strategic time-out, I thought the wicket was getting slower. So I just carried on but never expected such a big total. But it was just a one-off day when everything goes your way.”
Vijay struck a positive note about playing KKR in the final and countering Sunil Narine. “Kolkata has been fantastic in this tournament. Planning won't work much [against Narine]. I just want to keep things simple.”
Asked about his vigorous punching-the-air celebration after his century, the 28-year-old smiled wryly: “I just wanted to say ‘I still exist.'”
Earlier, Delhi Daredevils coach Eric Simons was at the receiving end of tough questions after some befuddling selection choices — most notably the omission of Morne Morkel and inclusion of off-spinner Sunny Gupta. “When you lose Irfan (Pathan), you have to find the right balance. Andre Russell made a good contribution. The direct replacement for Irfan was Russell but unfortunately that meant Morne missed out.”
While defending the decision to field first, Simons admitted it was a “risk” to play Gupta. “They (Super Kings) are a well-balanced side and we had to play someone who takes the ball away (from the left-handers). We have been very successful chasing. Had we restricted them to 180-185 we would have got it. Credit to Vijay for the way he played.”
The former South Africa coach, however, felt Delhi's team make-up had a predictable look to it.
On Delhi's reputation of faltering in the last-four stage, Simons disagreed that it was a case of choking. “I must say we did not choke but we were not firing in the last two games.”