Suresh Raina brought up his maiden IPL hundred on Thursday, one which helped Chennai Super Kings beat Kings XI Punjab by 15 runs at Chepauk. That meant Super Kings have won seven games in a row, an IPL record they now share with Royal Challengers Bangalore, and have all but sealed their place in the playoffs. The reason for the team doing so well, Raina said after the match, was the excellent dressing-room atmosphere this season.
"Right now our dressing room is one of the best since IPL was introduced. We have been enjoying the moment," Raina was quoted as saying by PTI. "Michael Hussey has been my role model in IPL. When you have positive attitude in the dressing room, you tend to learn a lot of good things from the senior players. It is all about attitude and hard work."
There has been a lot of emphasis on getting to know team-mates off the field, Raina said. "We have a team room and we spend a lot of time together. We play table tennis and pool games and listen to music. We get to know a player as a person off the field. I think that has made us very close. Still, lot of matches are coming up and if we work hard on our fitness we can get through."
In T20, Raina said, mental fitness is as important as cricket skills. "It is all about attitude and hard work. Twenty20 is all about how you play your shots and at the same time, you need to work really hard on your mind."
Raina said Super Kings' bowlers played an important role in the win against Kings XI. Defending 186, Albie Morkel and Mohit Sharma had taken the new ball and kept the scoring rate in check, Mohit accounting for both openers. Then Dwayne Bravo struck three times in a well-directed final, effectively halting Kings XI's spirited final charge. "Albie and Mohit Sharma bowled really well today with the new ball. But still the fear was in our mind. Not fear, but we are facing lot of challenges [with the bowling] and we really need to bowl well. But Bravo bowled really well too. We are in a good frame of mind right now and we are focused."