Jaipur: His blistering 23-ball 59 formed the cornerstone of Royal Challengers Bangalore's easy win, but AB de Villiers, in a nice gesture, shared his Man-of-the-Match award with KP Appanna, who turned in an impressive performance with the ball on Monday. Appanna picked up four wickets after de Villiers' heroics as RCB defeated Rajasthan Royals by 46 runs in their Indian Premier League match in Jaipur.
"I had a good game, I enjoyed my batting. I'd like to hand over this award to the man who took four wickets, KP Appanna. I haven't done this before. It's a team game," de Villiers said. "He [Appanna] took four wickets and it doesn't happen every time... That should be the Man-of-the-Match award."
Appanna thanked the batsmen for posting a solid total. After being put into bat, Bangalore posted a big total of 189 for 3, with Tillakaratne Dilshan making 76 in addition to de Villiers' 59. Appanna then led the bowling as Rajasthan were restricted to 143 for 7. "On this track, getting to 190 was a great effort, and I got some turn from the track," Appanna said.
Appanna credited Muttiah Muralitharan for his match-winning performance. The Indian spinner said the Sri Lankan spin wizard's guidance was of great help to him, and he also said that he is not overawed by the fact that while Murlidharan was sitting out, he was getting the opportunity to represent RCB. "He [Murali] is a great bowler and he is sitting out only because we can play only four overseas players, but his contribution is there. He always guides me. In fact, he gave tips about how to bowl on this wicket," said the 23-year-old orthodox left-arm spinner, who ripped through the Rajasthan batting line-up with impressive figures of four for 19.
The bowler said though he cherished all his dismissals, the one of Owais Shah was his prized scalp. "Though I got four wickets, Owais Shah's was the prized one. It gave me satisfaction as he has been playing so well and I could deceive him with flight," Appanna said.
RCB skipper Daniel Vettori was also pleased with Appanna's effort. "He has come back after playing in one match and offers us a lot more options. Today he has shown what he is capable of," Vettori said. "The way Zak [Zaheer Khan], Vinay [Kumar] and Harshal Patel [bowled], was a confidence booster for the side."
Bangalore are now sixth in the table after having played seven games, though all the top six teams are level on eight points. The former New Zealand captain said the tournament is wide open at this stage. "It's an exciting tournament. Pretty much every team still has a chance, so we need to keep winning."
Rajasthan captain Rahul Dravid said his side lost the match in the last five overs while bowling, during which they conceded over 80 runs. "The last five overs made the difference. Dilshan and AB played really well in that period," Dravid said.
Dravid was worried about his team's performance at the death. "The death bowling has been an area of concern. I am hitting some good shots but it's important to get the right result as well. Appanna bowled well, he had the backing of a lot of runs behind him. He spun the ball, it's good for his confidence."