Team owner Shah Rukh Khan hugs Bisla while Tiwary (second from right) makes some noise at the Eden Gardens victory celebrations
As the knights march in to defend their crown, MANOJ TIWARY and MANVINDER BISLa tell t2 about that winning feeling
After I hit that winning boundary [in the CSK vs KKR finals of IPL-5], I didn’t know what to do, how to celebrate. I just turned and ran to my teammates, like Usain Bolt. And I bet if he was running with me at that moment, I’d have lost by only a couple of seconds! I really can’t explain the winning feeling, apart from saying that it was like being on top of the world. When you hit a boundary which is the winning stroke, it doesn’t get better than that. As a cricketer, you always want to contribute and be one of the players who is instrumental in clinching a win. I feel I was destined to hit that winning boundary, just as KKR was destined to win the trophy after all the controversies and lows of the previous seasons. What I really felt happy about was that I was able to keep a promise to SRK that we would reach the final and win the trophy.
Obviously we will go into this year’s IPL with all intentions of defending our title. But as you know, in such a format, momentum is very important and a winning start will set the tone for the rest of the tournament.
Also, no one team is a favourite in this format — all sides are equally balanced and have quality players. At the back of our minds we know that we are the champions and need to play like that. Psychologically, we know that we will be on top because we won the title last year but you feel the pressure only when you think about it. The more we think about the fact that we are the defending champions, the more the pressure will build.
But we have a lot of experienced players in KKR who are able to handle this kind of a thought process. So, we just have to start afresh and if we can win this time round too, there will be nothing like it.
For me, the best memory is last year’s final. Nothing can beat that. As a professional cricketer, you always dream of such opportunities where you play a big final and play a big innings that helps the team win a competition. I am lucky that I could realise that dream. It feels great to be called a champion team. [Bisla was adjudged Man of the Match in the IPl-5 final.]
Now, looking ahead to this year’s IPL and starting as defending champions, I often think about Manchester United and try to draw inspiration from their success. Man U have been consistent over the years and that is what makes them a champion outfit. I wish we are able to do the same.
Knights & angels
Dear readers, after a deluge of responses to the ‘Kiddie Knights’ contest from you last year, we are back with more — Knights & Angels.
While the Knights are all set to forge match-winning partnerships on the ground, this year’s photo contest will focus on their partnerships off the pitch. Knights & Angels is all about the WAGs (wives and girlfriends) of the men in purple.
Whose better half is this lovely lady? Tell us to be among three lucky winners to receive two tickets each for the KKR vs Sunrisers Hyderabad match at the Eden Gardens on April 14. Send in one entry per person, with name, age, address and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep writing, keep winning!