Friday, May 01, 2009

Mentally tough Duminy has a good cricket brain | Column by Sanath Jayasuriya



IT’S fair to say we were pretty pleased to be chasing 120 for victory on Wednesday against Kings XI Punjab. The bowlers did a terrific job. However, sometimes the small run chases are the hardest. We ended-up putting ourselves under pressure and the result was very disappointing.

There is no point in getting
too upset, though. That’s cricket, as they say. Had JP Duminy’s slog sweet travelled two feet further we’d have been celebrating a famous win and one of the best innings of the tournament. As it was, Punjab were the ones dancing with joy.

There were definitely positives for us to take from that match. We showed again that we have a high-class bowling attack. We have wicket-takers and we have great variety. The bowlers put Kings XI under pressure from the word go and made them work for every single run, with Malinga leading the way alongwith Bhajji and Zaheer.

We can also take a big positive from JP’s mature innings. I have heard a great deal about him in the last six months and during this competition I have seen why. He is talented, clearly has a good cricket brain and is also mentally tough. The manner in which he manoeuvred the ball around, stealing singles with deft touches and picking-up valuable two’s was superb.

His innings was similar to Kumar’s (Sangakkara) earlier in the evening. Both batsmen showed calmness under pressure that only the highest quality batsmen possess. While all around them wickets were tumbling, they were quietly accumulating and strategising. It was just a big shame that no-one was
able to stay with JP and help push us over the line. Bravo and Nayar nearly pulled it off, adding 33 and 49 respectively, but we lost wickets just when the pendulum was swinging our way. It was frustrating, but you also have to congratulate Kings XI for putting us under pressure, fielding well and holding their nerve.

On Friday, however, we have a chance to make amends at Buffalo Park against the Knight Riders. We are still not even at the half-way point in this tournament. As Sachin said the other night losing is OK; we still have time. There is certainly no need to panic

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