Ravindra Jadeja's performance in this IPL was a headache for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) management. The all-rounder was not delivering with the bat or ball. He was even sloppy on the field in one game -- dropping two consecutive catches against Kolkata Knight Riders, a game CSK lost.
Chennai went to play Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) after a tough game against KKR. But the villain on other night turned out to be a hero, as Jadeja picked up 3/18 on Saturday. His first wicket was the RCB skipper Virat Kohli. Fall of Kohli was just a start of RCB's downfall in the game, as they were restricted to just 127. CSK later chased the target with 2 overs to spare.
Surprisingly, after picking up a wicket as huge as Virat, Jadeja didn't celebrate. When asked about the reason, he said, “Actually that was the first ball. The first time I saw Virat on strike I thought, ‘Okay it’s a right-hand batsman on strike so I’ll bowl normally’ because the pitch was looking dry,” said Jadeja, who was also awarded the man of the match for his efforts. “I tried to land it on a good spot, and I didn’t think I’ll get a wicket off the very first ball. Because generally, good batsmen tend to play watchfully off the first ball and assess what is happening off the pitch, how much the ball is turning and at what pace it’s coming.
“So that’s what it was. But I’m very happy I got a wicket off my first ball, and Virat’s wicket is always special.”
He added that everything happened so quickly that he had no time to react. “Like I said, it was the first ball so I didn’t get that much time,” smiled Jadeja. “Because I tend to get through my overs also very quickly. And off the very first ball, I got it… and too it wasn’t a catch where the ball flew in the air and I had time to think. Bowled off the first ball, there is no time, so what celebration will I do!”
Jadeja talked about their strategy before the game to get under the skin of a batting heavy RCB side. “When we saw the pitch in the afternoon it was looking dry. The good option was to bowl with variations because giving too much pace wouldn’t have worked well,” explained Jadeja.
“So that’s what Bhajju pa and I were trying. But I think Virat’s wicket was crucial, as was AB’s. Because everyone knows that even if three-four wickets go down, AB doesn’t change his game. He keeps making runs. That’s why AB’s wicket was also crucial. That was the game-changer because our momentum was built after that and they couldn’t get any partnerships too.”
Except for Parthiv Patel (53 off 41 balls) and Tim Southee (36*) in the end, no one looked like a threat for CSK. Talking about the dismissal of Virat and De Villiers, Parthiv said, “Yes, of course, it makes a difference when the world’s top two batsmen get out in two overs.
“But having said that, we have the quality in our side that we could have got to 150-160 even on that wicket. The pitch wasn’t that easy to bat on. We thought 150-160 would be a good score after playing the first three-four overs. The spinners’ deliveries weren’t turning as much as gripping on the surface. So shot-making wasn’t as easy.”
Jadeja spoke about the confidence Dhoni gives to the whole team, irrespective of results.
“Whether we win or even if we lose, our goal remains the same: that we shouldn’t blame one another,” he explained. “If we win we’ll take it like a team, and if we lose also we’ll take it like a team. That is our mantra. We don’t point fingers at someone else. That keeps our team united. Mahi bhai always says, ‘We’ll win together and we’ll lose together’. If your leader gives you that confidence that even if we lose we’ll stay together, that is really nice.”