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Shane made the difference: Pravin

Ahmedabad: The cricketing world came to know about Pravin Tambe last year when he performed impressively for the Rajasthan Royals in some of the matches.

The IPL often throws up characters who are ‘here today, gone tomorrow’. But Tambe, 42, doesn’t belong to that group. If he was good in IPL VI, he has been better in IPL VII.

Not only is he the leading wicket-taker in this edition of the tournament so far, he also recorded the first hat-trick of IPL VII on Monday. His figures of 4-0-26-3 helped Royals defeat the Kolkata Knight Riders by 10 runs and earned him the Man of the Match award.

Despite being the hero of the day, Tambe credited Royals captain Shane Watson for the victory. According to the leg-spinner, the 15th over of the Knights’ innings, bowled by Watson, was the turning point of the match. The Knights, who were cruising at 121 without loss till that stage, lost three wickets in that over.

Excerpts

On the dramatic change in the fate of the match

Well, you must understand one thing… Cricket is a funny game. Anything can happen, especially in T20 cricket. Never during the Knight Riders’ innings had we thought that the match had slipped out of our grasp. We knew a couple of wickets would change the scenario. It (a victory) was always achievable.

On the Knight Riders losing six wickets in two overs

(Laughs) We did not expect that… It just happened. But we bowled well and deserved to get those wickets.

On turning point of the match

Definitely the 15th over, bowled by our captain (Shane Watson), made all the difference. Though I got a hat-trick, he (Watson) changed the game by taking three wickets in that over. He also got rid of both their openers (Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa).

On his hat-trick

It is definitely a special feeling... But I had got hat-trick previously also… That was at the club level, in Mumbai. Obviously, that did not receive any publicity. Here, I liked it because the crowd was wonderful. They kept on cheering me. That was a huge encouragement.

On his mindset while bowling

The idea was to bowl tight and keep the runs under check… That’s the way you bowl in T20s. Here, it was no different. Since I bowled a tight line and I got those wickets.

On which wicket was most special

Frankly, I considered all the wickets as special wickets. At that point in time, we needed wickets for the cause of the team. That was the thing uppermost in my mind. It was a crucial time and didn’t matter as to who got out. All three were prized wickets.

On if he had any specific plan

I always plan to keep it tight. I know that the batsmen then tend to make mistakes.

On whether they felt safe with the 170-run total

It is always difficult to chase any total that you put on the board. It all depends on how the team puts pressure on the opponents. We knew someone would come and do it for us… And everybody contributed today.

On the pitch

It was a good wicket. Both the batsmen and the bowlers had a chance to prove their worth.