We want to sustain the momentum: Muralitharan

TH13-IPL-Murali_TH_2404171eThe smiling face of Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan said it all after Sunrisers Hyderabad recorded a five-run win over Kings XI Punjab on Monday night.

“Yes, it was another close encounter. That’s the T20 format for you. Results matter, whether you win by one run or two runs. What is important is that we picked up two important points. That is the key rather than whether it was a narrow win or not,” Muralitharan said.

“The road ahead now looks very good. One more win should give us a very good chance of being in the play-offs. But we want to win the next two games too, which, however, should be tough. It is all about momentum and we have to sustain that,” he said.

About Sunrisers’ approach against KXIP, Muralitharan said the team preferred left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma as the opposition did not have too many left-handers. “We have to think of the right combination for the game on hand.”

On whether they were happy with Ishant Sharma, who was treated roughly by KXIP batsmen, he said. “I think everyone got hit by David Miller who I thought played a brilliant innings. It is a very flat wicket. We had a game-plan for him too, but it did not click. And, people want to see big sixes and fours and seem to enjoy this kind of batting.

“It is a huge plus for us to play the last three crucial games at home. We know the conditions and also how to counter the opposition. It is always a better proposition to play in familiar conditions,” the Sunrisers bowling coach said.

“I don’t think it was a battle between two Davids [David Warner and David Miller]. It is ultimately between two teams. That is the way I look at it,” he said.

“The team spirit and bonding is terrific. Everyone is eager to make it special this time around. And, I am also enjoying my stint with this team which has some very good players — both past and present,” Muralitharan said. “I am content in giving whatever tips I can to help the team’s cause,” he said.

Miller disappointed

David Miller, who almost pulled off a sensational win for KXIP, said it was disappointing to lose such a close game. “It is quite natural in a T20 game to have ups and downs. Yes, we are not as consistent as we were last year. But there is no lack of effort. Somehow things are not falling in place,” he said.

“If we had scored more in the penultimate over bowled by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, it could have been a different story. We were six runs short of our target in that over. There were a couple of low full-tosses which we missed. But that’s it. We tried our best,” Miller said.

“I was very lucky in the last over when four full-tosses were bowled (by Ishant Sharma). But, I think in the middle-overs Henriques (Moises) bowled really well to pick up three wickets,” Miller said.

On whether Virender Sehwag is heading into a dead-end in his career because of his inconsistency in this IPL, Miller replied in the negative. “He is an amazing cricketer and a wonderful human being. Having seen him from such close quarters, I don’t think so,” he said.

On Warner’s innings, Miller said the Aussie is terrific to watch when he gets going. (Courtesy The Hindu)