Mumbai: Mumbai Indians pacer Dhawal Kulkarni feels his 3/19 against a rampaging Royal Challengers Bangalore in Mumbai's 58-run win is one of his best in the Indian Premier League.
Playing his first match of the season, Kulkarni picked up three wickets giving away just 19 runs as Mumbai pulled off a great win at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday.
"I feel this is one of my best performances in the IPL. To get my first game this year and come out with a performance like this feels special. This was the opportunity that I got after a long time and I wanted to cash in on it," Dhawal Kulkarni told IPLT20.com.
Dhawal picked up three big wickets of Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers and Tilakaratne Dilshan and backed up the performance of Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson in initial overs.
"It does not feel great to sit in the dugout, because you always want to go and perform for the team. I was working hard in the nets and working vigorously on my fitness over the past few weeks. I was waiting for this opportunity and I had the belief in myself that I would bowl well when I got the chance."
"It is great to end up on the winning side after bowling your heart out in the match. I do not want to stop here. I want to help my team win in the fixtures to come," he said.
Dhawal said getting out Chris Gayle early was crucial for Mumbai.
"We knew we had to target the big three in the RCB set-up. Getting Gayle early was definitely crucial, but we had to get AB (De Villiers), Dilshan (Tilakaratne) and Kohli (Virat) as well, because they had the ability to chase totals. Once we had their wickets, we knew it was our game from there on," he said.
Talking about the wicket, he said "The Wankhede wicket has always been full of swing and bounce. The ball was holding a little bit in the second innings. I bowled to my strengths and did not try to do much. I bowled at a particular line and length consistently and believed in keeping things simple."
Dhawal said the Wankhede strip is a good wicket to bat on.
"We would have liked to defend a 200-plus score, but had to be satisfied with 194 which was a good total as well. You can never jump into conclusions in T20s."
"We have seen Royal Challengers Bangalore chase huge totals in their previous games and we did not want to take them lightly. Picking wickets at the start of the innings was crucial and our bowlers did a great job by sticking to the basics. It was a great team effort," he said.