Losing Mustafizur wasn't good for us: Bhuvneshwar Kumar

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Old 29-May-2016
Losing Mustafizur wasn't good for us: Bhuvneshwar Kumar

After the conclusion of the Eliminator against Kolkata Knight Riders, David Warner said that he was a believer of putting runs on the board. That wasn't the case, however, on Friday (May 27), where Warner opted to bowl at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi against Gujarat Lions in the second Qualifier of the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League.

When asked about why there was a change in plan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, after the game said, "We had decided in the meeting to bowl first. If you look at their (Gujarat's) batting line-up, they have good batsmen like Finch, Raina, McCullum and Smith. They are good chasers. So we wanted to make them bat first so that we could get them out early and chase down the target."

Sunrisers were dealt a mighty blow earlier in the tournament when their veteran paceman Ashish Nehra was ruled out of the tournament with a hamstring-tendon injury. They were dealt with a mightier blow after, as their star bowler, Mustafizur Rahman, had a hamstring strain ahead of the clash against Gujarat and was subsequently ruled out.

Mustafizur, who has picked up 16 wickets in 15 games, with the lowest economy rate in the top ten bowlers this season, was replaced by Trent Boult, who hadn't played a game since March. While bowling upfront was a piece of cake for Boult, having conceded only 13 runs and accounted for Suresh Raina's wicket, the challenge was bowling at the death that Mustafizur was outstanding at. In his final two overs, Boult ended up conceding 26 runs.

"Mustafizur did really well but losing him in a crucial game wasn't good for us but Boult did very well," said an encouraging Bhuvneshwar. "It's a part of the game that he went for a few runs in the second-last over. But if you look at him, he has really worked hard in the nets. He knew that there might be a chance for him to play either the semifinals or finals but you can't say he has given runs; it's a part of the game. Losing Fizz wasn't good for us," he added.

While Warner's 93 took him to 779 runs, the four-wicket win wouldn't have been possible without the support of Bipul Sharma. The spinner, who went in at No.8, not just held his end, but also, delivered in his own right with a crucial 11-ball 27.

"The last 4-5 overs when Bipul went in to bat (was the turning point). Warner needed support from the other end, which is what Bipul did. It's never easy to go out and score runs immediately, but Bipul hit. He's a good pinch-hitter. He told Warner that he would give him support when he went in to bat and that's exactly what we wanted."

Sunrisers have only one day between the qualifier that they won and the final against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Without worrying too much about which, Bhuvneshwar conceded that a celebration was in due before the side addressed their apex challenge.

"We'll enjoy for now because we know there's a pressure match coming up," he said with a smile. "We will definitely strategiise because I read somewhere the other day that Virat Kohli has scored 35 per cent of RCB's runs. It'll be a big task for us to get Gayle, Virat and AB and later, Watson, out. We are hoping for a good contest," he concluded.

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