Chennai Super Kings (CSK) went top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 table with a convincing six-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Sharjah. Despite Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal putting on 111 for the first wicket, CSK pulled things back to restrict RCB to 156. Dwayne Bravo walked away with the player of the match award for his spell of 3 for 24, but CSK bowling consultant Eric Simons lavished praise o Shardul Thakur saying that his incredible self-belief makes him a special cricketer.
Thakur picked up the wickets of AB de Villiers and Padikkal off consecutive deliveries to tilt the game in CSK's favour. “Shardul Thakur is somebody that you can throw the ball to under any circumstances. He wants to bowl and bat under any circumstances. He has incredible self-belief and that is what makes him such a special cricketer," the CSK bowling consultant said at a virtual post-match conference.
"As a team, we very strongly look at the execution of our tactics rather than the outcome. Sometimes, the bowler gets hit for fours and sixes even though the execution is good,” he added.
While Simons admits CSK were not at their best with the ball in the first half, he feels Thakur with his quick strikes took away the momentum from RCB.
“We didn’t get it quite right in the first half. But in the second half, he (Thakur), in many ways, (shifted) the momentum. He bowled in the right areas and he was clever about the way he went about his bowling. A lot of people speak about our bowling attack being a smart one and I think he epitomized that today. He used his ability to read the wicket and the batsmen in the situation,” Simons opined.
For the first time in IPL 2020, CSK failed to make it to the playoffs. Simons thinks that they learnt their lessons from that. “We spoke about what went wrong for us in India in the first half of the IPL and we spoke about what we did wrong here (last season). Any situation, be it a good performance or a bad performance, is a learning. What went wrong in the last IPL was a tremendous lesson for us. But you have to learn the lessons and I think we did,” Simons said.
Speaking of the balance of the side, the former South Africa cricketer said, “The balance of our team is really good. Our batting, the way that we have come out and played with the sort of aggression that we do… We have put together a well-balanced team. We have learnt out lessons from the previous IPL here and applied that in India, where we played a different brand of cricket."
CSK are in action next against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Abu Dhabi on Sunday (September 26).