The Indian Premier League (IPL) has been catering electrifying games of T20 cricket ever since it came into existence. The qualifier 2 between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) in the 2014 edition is one such game that will always be remembered for the roller-coaster experience it gave to the fans.
Both teams were battling for a ticket to finale. George Bailey’s Punjab were put to bat and opener Virender Sehwag set the Wankhede Stadium on fire with his monstrous knock of 122 of 58 balls. Punjab had set a mammoth 227-run target for Chennai.
In reply, Dhoni & Co lost Faf du Plessis early. But then came Suresh Raina who played one hell of a knock that night. With 6 sixes and 12 boundaries, he helped his team post 100 runs in six overs. But in the very next over, he got run out and that triggered the collapse of CSK. Dhoni fought alone till the end but his unbeaten 42 off 31 wasn’t enough. The Super Kings lost the encounter by 24 run.
During a conversation with his ex-CSK teammate Ravichandran Ashwin in a Facebook live chat session, Raina spoke about the mindset with which he had batted against Punjab.
“When I saw Viru Bhai hitting a lot of sixes, I thought the wicket was definitely very good to bat on. I was thinking maybe we can chase 180-190. But they scored 230 something.
“The moment I went into the dressing room, I saw calmness. Everyone must be thinking we have lost the game.But I was in a different zone at that time. Since I fielded at the slips, at point, at the covers, also at mid-off, mid-on; I saw Viru bhai hitting every ball so straight. So, what I learned from the first innings that I have to be very particular about my bat flow. I have to go through all the check drives, especially take all the bowlers to straight boundaries rather than taking them across the bat,” Raina said.
The calmness made me believe that I can do it. The amount of belief in me and in our dressing room because I and MS were thinking we can do it. I felt so good because every ball was coming into my bat. Initially, when I hit 1 or 2 boundaries, I thought this is the game I’m gonna take it from anywhere,” he added.
Before Raina’s blistering knock, it was Sehwag who toyed with the CSK bowler and took Punjab to a huge total with his century which was laced with 8 maximums and 12 boundaries.
“Viru Bhai was smashing everything. He smashed Ashu bhai (Ashish Nehra, Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) and Mohit Sharma. There was no tiredness in his batting. He had hit 8 or 9 sixes and he was singing the song. I said, ‘give me half of what you have done. I wanna win this one for my team’,” Raina further said.