What a fabulous game! It's hard to understand why Daredevils are struggling this season, but we should concentrate on our own form and enjoy our own success.
A total of 148 for seven may have seemed ‘below par' after our innings but, as I wrote just a couple of days ago, the secret to success in this format is to read the conditions and assess what is a ‘competitive' and winning total.
We would have enjoyed having an extra 20 runs but we also knew that conditions dictated that 140 to 150 was a competitive total.
Manoj Tiwary was fantastic. Every time people question the depth of Indian cricket, someone like Manoj raises his hand with an innings like the one he played on Thursday. It was explosive at times, but more impressive to me was the maturity he displayed.
It is hard to explain the process required of a batsman when the pressure is ‘on'. How do you select your shots? How much risk do you take? At a critical moment, a boundary or a wicket can change the course of a match. One ball can decide the outcome.
So, as exciting as it can be to smash 70 off 30 balls, when everything goes your way, it can feel even more rewarding to pace yourself, for the team's benefit, and still emerge on the winning side.
There are times when you can see your team being bowled out for 90. And there are times when you are the man who can turn that 90 into 140 or 150. It might not be enough to win the game, but at least it gives you a chance. That is how I see my role. Make sure the team always has a chance.
If things go well then I will try to put the game beyond the opposition, but it's vital that we always have a chance of winning. And that is exactly what Manoj did for us against Delhi. A winning margin of 17 runs is huge in the IPL — it sounds like a thrashing. But it wasn't. It was a tough battle and touch-and-go for much of the match.
Two points have suddenly changed everything. We move from the bottom half of the table to the top half and face the prospect of regaining the top place with another couple of victories.
As pleasant as that prospect is, however, the major target remains the same — to be in the top four at the end of the qualifying stages. There is no other motive — we must make the semifinals and take it from there.
Keywords: IPL 2011