At a batting-friendly Sharjah Stadium, Ashwin made life difficult for Bangalore’s top and middle order, scalping two wickets for a mere 23 runs in his allocation of four overs. The 30-year-old from Chennai, playing only his third game for KXIP this season, accounted for the dismissals of Aaron Finch and Washington Sundar.
Attending the virtual post-match press conference on the Zoom application, Ashwin was filled with delight. “I am really happy that I was able to take wickets and contribute to the team. On this sticky surface, I tried to turn the ball both ways. It came out of the hand well,” Ashwin told sports scribes.
“I watched the last two matches that were played on this pitch. I looked at how the RCB spinners bowled in their previous game here. I took a cue from their spells and just wanted to hit the ball in the right lengths,” he added. The venue in Sharjah, known for its short boundaries, was a graveyard for bowlers in the initial phase of IPL 2020.
But, the pitches have started to slow down a bit as the matches keep coming thick and fast. Asked how it is to bowl in such testing conditions, Ashwin responded: “As a professional, you need to accept the challenge. Every ground is different and you need to adapt really well to be successful at this level.” With the victory against Bangalore, Punjab, bolstered by the inclusion of ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle, snapped its five-game losing run. Ashwin stressed that the bottom-placed team should look at keeping the winning momentum going.
“Gayle coming into the side gives a lot of energy. Even when we lost a string of matches, the mood in the camp was good. We didn’t lose our spirit. We know that we are playing good cricket. It is just about getting over the line. I am happy that we won. Now, it is about repeating the same in the coming games,” said Ashwin, who has picked up six wickets so far.