IPL 2017: "I relish the challenge of batting under pressure," says Suresh Raina
The left-hander went on to credit MS Dhoni for the things he taught him while they were together at CSK.
What’s the story?
Losing a cricket match can be painful. Losing four out of five matches and struggling to perform consistently as the captain of a side can be downright miserable. The skipper of Gujarat Lions, Suresh Raina, encountered the same before he scored a match-winning 84 against KKR at Eden Gardens.
While speaking to the official IPL website, he said, “I love batting in pressure situations and it is a challenge I relish. I have batted with MS Dhoni for almost ten years now and always admired how he would finish games for the side. I have learnt how to cut down on asking rates from 9 per over to a 7 per over from him. The middle overs in a T20 game is very important and you need to take calculated risks."
In case you didn’t know...
Raina recently surpassed Virat Kohli on the list of highest run-getters in the IPL. He currently has 4341 runs in an IPL career which spreads over 149 innings. His closest competitor is the Indian skipper himself who has 4264 runs to his name but has played 16 innings fewer than Raina.
He is also the first player to gain 150 caps in the IPL.
The heart of the matter
After his blitzkrieg against KKR, Raina now has 243 runs to his name in this edition of the T20 tournament and will be keen to add to that. The Lions have encountered a tough start to the IPL season with just 4 points from the first 6 matches but with their skipper finding his groove lately, there is every possibility of a surge in momentum for them.
Raina asserted the same while speaking after the match. He said that if he can carry on with the same form then it could assist his side in moving up the table. He was quick to shower praise on Lions’ top-order batsmen Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, and Dwayne Smith. However, the GL skipper reserved special praise for former India captain, MS Dhoni.
Raina credited Dhoni for helping him learn how to remain calm and composed during crunch situations.
The Lions take on the Kings XI Punjab today in the first match of the double-header. Raina will be determined to extend his run with the bat and garner points for his team as the competition enters its business end.
Raina has played a number of crucial knocks under pressure and has helped his side – both domestic and international – out of tricky situations. He has indeed become one of the most consistent players in the IPL and could find a berth in the Champions Trophy squad if he can continue his run of form.