Hyderabad: Deccan Chargers finished the Indian Premier League just a place above wooden-spoon holders Pune Warriors, but their captain Kumar Sangakkara said it was a satisfying campaign from them as they performed well throughout the season.
"Two back-to-back wins [against Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore] feels good. The guys played good cricket in the two matches. All of us chipped in and that was the important thing. I know it's heartbreak for RCB but I am happy that we won. The boys played good cricket," Sangakkara said at the post-match press conference after his side beat Bangalore by nine runs on Sunday.
"I think we played really good cricket, but unfortunately the results did not go our way. We batted really well throughout the tournament, with Shikhar Dhawan, Cameron White and JP Duminy, and also Akshat Reddy. Bowlers like [Manpreet] Gony, Ashish Reddy and Veer Pratap Singh did well and [provided] a lot of encouragement for us to look forward. We need to improve our fielding because it is most important in this format of the game," he said.
On Dale Steyn's fiery pace bowling spell against Bangalore, Sangakkara said, "I think he has bowled a few good spells like this. Coming in a crunch game like this, he carried us through with the entire deck on his shoulders. He gave other bowlers the confidence. He helps other bowlers also and keeps them calm. That's why he is the best bowler in the world."
Asked about Gayle's initial assault, when he hit 24 runs off Manpreet Gony in the second over, Sangakkara said, "There's nothing really that you can say. He was really hitting good balls for sixes. The first one he hit was a fantastic ball by Manpreet Gony, just a back-of-a-length delivery. He just went across and put it out. With a guy like that, you bowl as many balls as possible in good areas and the rest is left to Gayle, to either hit them out of the park or get out. I think Dale Steyn had good plan as to what to bowl to Gayle and that worked. Lucky to get an inside edge but Steyn's pace and his short length bothered him a bit today."
On Amit Mishra, who also chipped in with two wickets, Sangakkara said, "To me, what he bowled last season [when Mishra finished as the highest wicket-taker for Deccan] was magic. But injuries and fitness issues have bothered [him] a bit [this season]. You need to give him that support, love and encouragement to get back into his rhythm. And he showed that by bowling to few of the best batsmen in the last two games."
On the nature of the wicket in Hyderabad, Sangakkara said, "After going through the first four-five overs, I thought of getting 140. I thought that would be great score on this wicket. But the only X-factor in RCB is Gayle. If he gets 10 overs, he can take any game away from the opponents. I thought JP [Duminy] batted magnificently, everyone else managed to chip in well and kept the scoreboard ticking. And that's the way the game goes, to get to manageable total on a wicket that is two-paced, get a couple of wickets and then exert pressure, and it turns your way."