Rajasthan Royals pacer Navdeep Saini on Saturday said that with the final over duties entrusted to him in the match against Mumbai Indians, he was feeling the pressure and felt that implementing the plans he had thought of became extremely important for him at that time.
With Mumbai needing 29 runs off the final six deliveries to chase down 194 at DY Patil Stadium, Saini’s final over began with a wide, followed by Kieron Pollard drilling a drive off a full delivery through extra cover.
But Saini bowled two more full balls outside off-stump and then followed it up with a low full toss and wide yorker to keep Pollard quiet. Saini then got Pollard caught at deep extra cover on a full toss outside off-stump to seal a 23-run win for Rajasthan, their second straight win of the season.
“At that time, we knew one thing there were a lot of runs left. I had it in my mind that the plans I have, like the wide yorker, had to be executed with the runs and balls left. The pressure was on me and I had in me that with the plan I have, it was absolutely necessary to execute the plans. Even when the last two balls were left, I had thought of backing my strength and execute it," said Saini in the post-match virtual press conference.
Saini had gone off the field at the end of the 13th over as after taking a wonderful low catch to send back Ishan Kishan. He hit the ground while landing and had to go off the field. There were murmurs about a concussion replacement but Saini came back to defend 29 in the final over.
“When my head hit the ground, I had to go out for one-two overs. As soon as I felt normal, I came back to the field as I was needed. So, to bowl again, I came back on the field. I am fine right now," insisted the right-arm pacer.
Asked about the talk in Rajasthan camp when Ishan Kishan and Tilak Varma had an 81-run stand, Saini commented, “There was only one thought at that time when they were batting well: to not panic and had planned that the game is quite long, so had to stick to the normal plans and execute the plan as per our strengths."
Saini was appreciative of Sri Lankan pace great Lasith Malinga joining the franchise as the bowling coach. “Talking about Malinga sir, we practised a lot under him and he had already told us the plan about what could be better. We had it in that we had to execute our plan irrespective of the situation and back our planning."
Saini signed off by saying that captain Sanju Samson is a thinking captain who is always open to talking about formulating various plans.
“I have been playing with Sanju bhai a lot before and in the practice matches played previously, spending the whole day together, he always asks all the time about what and how the plans are. It helped as we knew how to execute the plans better during the match and were about what the plan could be or not be."