The moment Darren Sammy hit Iqbal Abdullah for a six, he had not only won a lot of hearts in the crowd, but had also sealed a spot in the Playoffs for the Sunrisers. The deafening roar of the crowd accompanied the Sunrisers dugout as they ran to the centre of the pitch to congratulate Sammy. (Also Read: SRH vs KKR - M72 Report & Stats: IPL 2013)
The home team’s theme song was played at high decibels as the crowd sang along and danced with jubilation. The Sunrisers then took a victory lap in the stadium gifting the crowd with team merchandise along the way.
During the lap, players doused each other with water and energy drinks, while the rest acknowledged the cheers of the crowd.
Sammy did his own version of the ‘Gangnam’ as coach Tom Moody and team mentors Kris Srikkanth and VVS congratulated the team.
Though the excitement began to wane as the stadium emptied, the dressing room mood was still upbeat. There were smiles and hugs all around as phone calls and text messages continued to pour in. “Time of my life”, a song from the movie “Dirty Dancing” echoed in the dressing room along with popular dance numbers; testifying to the amazing feeling of accomplishment.
Amidst all the jubilation, Shikhar Dhawan who played a vital role in SRH’s win against the Knight Riders on Sunday, shared a few moments with IPLT20.com.
Describing the feeling, the opening batsman said, “It is a great feeling to be in the knockouts. It is our first year and we have made it to the Playoffs when not many gave us a chance. At the moment, it is amazing to see our name in the top four.”
Considering not many would have backed SRH to reach this position, it is indeed amazing. They knocked out RCB - one of the tournament favourites and will face the Rajasthan Royals in their Playoffs fixture.
Dhawan credited the team’s success to teamwork. “I believe the reason we have succeeded as a group is because this team is not about any individual. We all gel together and enjoy each other’s success. We stuck to our plans, executed them well and played good cricket. The Sunrisers, known for their strong bowling unit restricted KKR to a total of 130 in the final league encounter.
Dhawan was of the view that SRH were a team that hunted in pairs throughout the tournament. “We have a lethal bowling attack with Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma adding firepower in the beginning and at the death; and we have quality spinners like Amit Mishra and Karan Sharma who thrive in pairs in the mid-innings. We have a similar logic with respect to our batting too.”
Their batting has been patchy in this tournament, with the team unable to put up huge scores. But on Sunday night, openers Parthiv Patel and Dhawan gave the side a strong start to set a perfect platform for the run-chase.
“I feel it was a great opening partnership between me and Parthiv. We got off to a good start and did the job for our team. Also, hats off to Darren Sammy who held his nerve to finish the game for us,” Dhawan said.
On a personal front, the left-handed opener was also happy with the way he was striking the ball, especially after coming back from an injury. “I joined the team a bit late due to my injury but was eager to start playing. I have been consistent in the tournament and I am really happy with my performance this year. I would love to continue this form in the Playoffs,” he said.
“It is a very big win for us. We have done it and it is a big achievement for us to deliver such a good performance in our very first year. We will savour this win for the moment and get ready for the Playoffs,” said Dhawan.