'We could have won chasing 200' – Smith

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Shamsi looking to learn from Hogg

Gujarat Lions batsman Dwayne Smith said his team had backed itself to chase even a 200-plus total given that the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s bowling line-up was “not that strong.”

“[If] we would have been set 200, we could have made 200 as well,” Smith said after Lions registered a six-wicket victory with three balls to spare for their fourth win in five games. “Having said that, we still have to bat properly, and [I am] glad that we did that to get over the line.”

Smith was one of the two changes made to the Lions side, with left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati also coming into the lineup in exchange for Dale Steyn and Akshdeep Nath. Smith reckoned the extra batsman had given them the luxury to launch an all-out attack at the top of the order after a disappointing batting performance in their ten-wicket defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad.

“We have to play on how the pitch was playing,” Smith said. “The extra batsman was the way to go and I think we missed that in the last game. It’s good to see that we’ve got back to winning ways.”

Smith contributed 32 off 21 balls in a first-wicket partnership of 47 with Brendon McCullum. He believed that their experience of playing together for Chennai Super Kings in the past had helped them understand each other’s games. Smith also said McCullum’s takedown of Kane Richardson – he smashed two sixes and as many fours in the sixth over in the four balls immediately after Smith was dismissed – was the turning point of the innings.

“It was just natural. Myself and Baz [McCullum] have played for long time,” Smith said. “We know each other. We complement each other well.”

Aaron Finch had gone off the field during Royal Challengers’ innings with an injury and didn’t bat. Smith said he wasn’t aware of the nature of the injury but was confident Finch would be fit.

Royal Challengers left-arm wristspinner Tabraiz Shamsi defended the decision to bat first and said his side thought they had an above-par score. It was the bowling, according to him, that needed to be addressed. He also defended Shane Watson from criticism after bowling a wide and a no-ball in the final over, instead saying that the game was lost by the bowling unit long before the 20th over began.

“Had we won the game, nobody would have questioned our decision to bat first,” Shamsi said. “We couldn’t bowl well to pull off a victory. Virat [Kohli] is one of the best in the world. He knows what he is doing and if a batsman like him bats through the 20 overs, we were sure to get somewhere close to a decent total on board. We actually thought we had got a little more than par on that ground and on the pitch.

“We have got some clear plans from the management which we need to execute and hopefully in the next game we will be able to pull it off. It’s not about the last over but it is about the 20 overs.”

Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. @scarletrun

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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