Ashwin's spell led a combined tidy bowling effort from Punjab, who defended 182 to win their fifth game in the ongoing IPL. Ashwin had also played a crucial role with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 17 off 4 balls to push Punjab to 182.
Looking back at his Man of the Match award winning performance, and his ever increasing list of variations, Ashwin said, “For me, it's about getting various lengths with different speeds. As a spinner you have to reinvent the wheel all the time. Trying to get the batsman with under cutter, reverse carrom... I live by the sword and die by it, I've worked on a lot of things despite people actually calling me for trying too many things, but I kept on going,” Ashwin said at the post-match presentation.
Debutant left-arm fast bowler Arshdeep Singh too emerged a hero as he returned with figures of 2/43.
Even though he was a bit expensive, Arshdeep got the prized wickets of Jos Buttler and Ajinkya Rahane, tilting the match in his team’s favour. Ashwin was all praise for the youngster and said his role will be crucial going into the latter stages of the tournament.
"It’s very tough to defend here (Mohali) as the wicket generally gets better in the second half. We probably thought we were 10-15 runs short on this pitch but Arshdeep bowled really well in the first few overs.
“We had some plans for Jos and he (Arshdeep) really executed them well. Mujeeb also I thought was brilliant, he went for a few runs but we got the wicket up front,” he said.
Ashwin revealed that the young pacer can swing the ball both ways which comes in handy in this format of the game.
“He (Arshdeep) can swing the ball both ways and for a left-hander to swing both ways is a massive advantage in the first six overs, like we have seen with Deepak Chahar in the CSK. It didn't swing much in Mohali, but we are looking forward to Arshdeep doing some great things in the tournament.”
With the win, Punjab got to 10 points from nine matches.
"It's very important to get that 10-point category. The race is heating up, a lot of teams are around the six and eight points, and I guess it's the right time in the tournament to do that," said Ashwin.
On the other hand, Rajasthan skipper Ajinkya Rahane felt that they had a good game, and were just "a couple of sixes" short.
"We felt 182 on that wicket was quite chaseable. We started well. It was just a matter of two sixes," he said, referring to the 12-run loss.
Rahane said Tripathi was promoted to open the batting as he was struggling in the middle order.
“Tripathi was struggling in the middle order, and I thought I could come in and take control with a set batsman. In a game like this, you can't criticise too much. Our bowlers bowled well. In a chase like this, you can't lose too many wickets in a bunch. The discussion between Stuart and I was take it deep," he explained.
“Tripathi started really well, but we should learn from our mistakes. These things happen in T20 cricket. Having said that our two leg-spinners in the middle overs were brilliant.”
First Published: April 17, 2019, 12:46 AM IST