Skipper Williamson Praises Afghan Army

The captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kane Williamson, was in all praise for the Afghanistan star Rashid Khan, as his all-round performance helped the team to get over the hurdle of Kolkata Knight Riders by 14-runs and book their place in the finals against Chennai Super Kings.

Cricket news: Very happy to witness the fighting spirit of the entire team especially Rashid, says Williamson

Rashid Khan was named the Man-of-the-match for his all-round performance which included a quick-fire 34 not out off 10 balls at the end, which helped the Sunrisers to post a competitive total of 174-7.

Later he turned the game when KKR came to bat, by picking up three crucial wickets. Along with that he took two catches and was also effective in a run-out.

“It was a great fighting effort from the lads, game ebbed and flowed. Game could have gone either way. Credit to the way the boys finished off the first innings to get a competitive total. Game was slipping away a bit at the start, but we knew if we held firm, we could squeeze back in the middle,” Williamson said.

“Important we move on and focus on the final. As a team we fight to the very last ball and we showed that again today. Someone like Rashid is the perfect example. Outstanding talent, he has a great attitude. He (Rashid) was brilliant but he’s got another game, so we’re going to keep him wrapped up. He’s had a great season for us.”

The captain also said that the management did not change the balance of the team despite there were injuries to the key players.

“The thing we didn’t change was our balance. We had injuries obviously, Saha was injured. He came back in, was nice to have his experience. Goswami contributed well, but that was the big thing for us to have that experience in the final,” he said.

“Every one of those guys have played a big part, whether contributing on the field or off the field. It’s been a huge collective effort.”

When asked about the finals against Chennai Super Kings, Williamson said, “They’ve been playing good cricket, and certainly deserve to be in the final. It’s a great occasion, something that the guys will be looking forward to. It is about focussing on the next match now, one which the guys are excited for.”

Rashid was also asked how he felt about his performance in the all-important game. He said, “It was much-needed for me, wanted to give my 100 percent in all departments. Focus was to just believe in my skills. I was happy with the batting, it was needed in the end,” he said.

“I started my career as a batsman, I believe in my skills and wanted to finish off well. I just tried to pick the lengths, the focus was to play straight. That was the plan from the senior players.”

Talking about his performance in the field, Rashid said, Talking about fielding, he said: “Fielding is one department where you can’t make excuses, compared to last year, I’ve worked really hard in my fielding. If I can’t contribute with bat or ball, I’m always looking forward to contribute on the field. Modern cricket demands that. I’m working hard on that.”

KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik held himself responsible for the defeat after he got out pretty cheaply in the game.

“It’s hard to digest, we played a good tournament. To finish on the losing side doesn’t feel good. We had the game at the 10-over mark, couple of bad shots cost us. Me, Robin had to bat through, Lynn was good. Me not batting through was a mistake on my part,” he said.

It will be a third finale for Bangladesh veteran Shakib Al Hasan (1/16), who believes that it was because of his and Rashid’s bowling in the middle overs that has secured the win.

“In the middle overs where Rashid and I bowled, we squeezed the game. That was the turning point,” he said.

“We always knew you can lose in the last two-three overs in T20s, momentum changes. We had to hold our nerves, but we used our experience from the other day.

“Third time I’ll be playing in an IPL final. Thanks to the franchise for playing me in all games. Some games we didn’t do our best, but a good tournament overall for Sunrisers.”

West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite took two wickets in the match and was happy to contribute to the win, after his quick-fire 29-ball 43 in the first qualifier was not enough to secure the win against CSK.

Shakib said: “Carlos will be a happy man, the way we lost that day, he thought it was because of him. The way he came back today was terrific.”