Last night's game between the Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders was going away from CSK for most parts. Batting first KKR piled on the huge score of 202 in their 20 overs, with the help of Andre Russel's tremendous innings, filled with 11 sixes, of 88 from just 36 balls.
Chasing the mountain looking score on the surface, CSK got off to a really good start thanks to openers Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu before they lost their way and needed a special effort from someone to resurrect the innings and the game. This is when Sam Billings arrived.
Billings absolutely changed the game in no time with his knock of 56 from just 23 balls and as it turned out the innings not only got CSK back in the chase but also made a match-winning impact too. CSK won the game in the final over chasing 17 off 6 balls from the Vinay Kumar over, with Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja giving the finishing touches.
Talking about his innings Billings was quoted saying, “It means a lot to me, of course to the team, and even more to the fans. We saw their passion, in the practice game we saw 10000 people, Dhoni wasn’t even here, he was in Mumbai for the captain’s meet. That shows how much it means to people in this part of the world.”
He also singled out the importance of MS Dhoni's importance to CSK's and his success. He said, “MS…he just enables people to relax, and be very calm like he is… it is a close-knit group. It has only been two games and practice games, but it is amazing how quickly it has gelled. That is the difference in these close games, team culture is a huge thing.”
Sam also got the opportunity to bat alongside MS Dhoni in the run chase and got a chance to gauge his brains. Talking about the experience he stated, “MS didn’t say much. It was a matter of running hard and minimising dot balls. He is very fast between the wickets, and especially against quality spin, it’s a matter of rotating the strike. It is about playing smart, and the whole career he has played smart and finishing games probably more than anyone else.”
(Inputs from Hindustan Times)