Close to thirty thousand people thronged the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad to catch a glimpse of the master blaster weave his magic with the willow, and at the same time hoping for a win for the home side. To their delight, Sachin Tendulkar’s short stint at the crease was a visual delight and at the end of the day, their team walked back with smiles to the dressing room, recording a seven wicket win. (Also Read: SRH vs MI - M43 Report & Stats: IPL 2013)
Earlier in the day, during the Mumbai Indians’ innings, the stage was set for a ‘Dale Steyn vs Sachin Tendulkar’ show. Tendulkar, got the better of the world’s best fast bowler as he was hit with authority for two magnificent boundaries in one over. The onus was then left on the other SRH bowlers to keep a tab on the run scoring and at the same time stop the run flow off the master’s bat.
When Ishant Sharma was given the ball, some said he had lost his old lethal self, while others argued that he was going through a rough patch and the best was yet to come. All of that was put to rest by the 24-year old lanky pacer who got Tendulkar clean bowled, as he delivered a beauty of a ball to get the master to take the walk back to the pavilion.
“It is a tremendous feeling to get Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket,” said Ishant in an exclusive chat with IPLT20.com after the match. “When I started playing cricket, I never felt I would someday bowl to Tendulkar or be playing against him. It is a big moment for any bowler to get the wicket of one of the best batsman in the world. I am pleased I got the wicket of the ‘God of cricket’. It is a special feeling,” said an ecstatic Ishant who was adjudged the man-of-the-match for his outstanding spell of fast bowling against the Mumbai Indians on Wednesday.
Ishant ended up with match figures of 4-1-15-2 which also included the wicket of Mumbai Indians’ run machine Dinesh Karthik. For Ishant it was all about keeping things simple. “I assessed the conditions and tried to execute whatever set plan we had for each batsmen. I bowled according to my strengths without thinking about the batsman. I am pleased that we did well as a collective bowling unit. We kept things simple, without trying anything extraordinary and did our basics right today. ”
Ishant has 12 wickets in the tournament so far and believes he is hitting the right line and lengths consistently. He felt he has become more mature when it came to bowling in T20s. Ishant the bowler was a satisfied man at the end of the day. “I have been going in with a relaxed mindset these days which is something that has worked for me in the IPL. I have been consistent throughout the tournament. My economy rate has been close to seven which I feel is fair enough to have in this format of the game. I am pretty happy the way I am bowling.”
Sharma also reserved praise for Amit Mishra who was the only other bowler to pick up wickets in the match. Mishra too was at his wicket taking best with two wickets to his name. “Amit Mishra has been tremendous for us in the IPL. He did a great job by keeping the MI batsmen silent and taking crucial wickets. I guess we bowled well in pairs and did a great job in restricting Mumbai to 129.”
Ishant though, regretted dropping Dwayne Smith’s catch in the 11th over, but felt it was important that he moved on from the dropped catch since it would affect his bowling. He said, “I felt bad that I dropped an easy catch, but I had to make sure that I did not think about it and let it affect my bowling. I had an over left to bowl after that and had I let the drop catch affect me; I could have well gone for runs in my final over. I am glad I took a clean catch later and also summed up my bowling with good economical figures at the end of the day.”