Knew cutters would be effective - Watson
Royal Challengers Bangalore allrounder Shane Watson said the manner of his dismissal had influenced his plan to focus on bowling variations and cutters against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on Monday. Watson had returns of 2 for 22 and gave away only 10 runs in his final two overs to help Royal Challengers defend 175 by one run.
Watson was dismissed for 1 in Royal Challengers' innings, bowled by an Axar Patel delivery that kept a little low. He had more impact with the ball, dismissing Hashim Amla in his first over. Reintroduced into the attack in the 17th over, with Kings XI needing 40 off 24 balls, Watson conceded only three runs and took the crucial wicket of M Vijay, who was well set on 89. In the penultimate over, Watson went for seven runs and left Kings XI with 17 to get off the last six balls.
"The plan changes from batter to batter, and from ball to ball. Knowing how the wicket was tonight, it was quite slow, so I changed pace because it was gripping a little bit," Watson told iplt20.com. "So I bowled a lot more of those cutters than the normal sort of speed balls. So that was really the plan - I realised that soon after I got out the way I did earlier in the evening - to keep bowling the variation deliveries. I knew the cutters were going to be very effective tonight and it's fortunate that most of the time it did."
Watson is currently the joint highest wicket-taker in the tournament - with Kolkata Knight Riders' fast bowler Andre Russell and Mumbai Indians' quick Mitchell McClenaghan - with 14 wickets in nine matches at an average of 19.57 and an economy rate of 7.94. He has picked up at least one wicket in all but one match [against Mumbai Indians], and had an economy rate of more than 8 in only four matches. After the win over Kings XI, Watson also praised his captain Virat Kohli for utilising him well as a bowler by staggering his overs between the Powerplay, middle and end stages of an innings.
"Virat has been using me in one-over spells early on in the innings and then more towards the back end, depending on where it suits the team the most," he said. "I am happy to bowl anywhere Virat (needs me). He instills lot of confidence in me, he lets me sort of choose the balls and allows me to set my fields accordingly - with his input a lot of the time as well. It's been great to work under him and he's using me very nicely."
The win over Kings XI Punjab was Royal Challengers' fourth in nine games and kept their hopes of a playoff spot alive. They won their last two matches and Watson hoped they could carry this momentum forward to qualify for the knockouts.
"It is a gift to be able to win a game by one run. In these tournaments, in the IPL, you have to fall on the right side of those really close ones to be able to give yourself a chance to make it to the playoffs. So it's a good starting point we were able to fall on the right side of the game tonight to continue on the momentum that we started in the last game in Bangalore."