Bangalore: Having guided CSK to their second CLT20 trophy, Suresh Raina said that he has matured as a player taking cues from his contemporaries including Virat Kohli, who has shown the way with big hundred in ODI cricket.
"I have learnt a lot in these seven years. In the earlier years, there used to be Matthew Hayden along with Mike Hussey and also our coach Stephen Fleming, who helped me matured. In the Indian team, I learnt a lot from watching Virat Kohli convert starts into big hundreds in ODI cricket. Not to forget my partnerships with Dhoni. Also like to mention Yuvraj Singh's name," a beaming Raina said in a post-match interview.
"It's important to perform on a big day. I believe they got 20 runs short bit I was determined to play till the end and see my team through. I have played Kuldeep, Yusuf bhai and Piyush earlier and wanted to be positive," said Raina.
Having broken the trophy jinx after three years, Raina said that team environment has been key to CSK's success. "We have amazing players like Baz (Brendon McCullum), Faf (du Plessis) and Bravo and it's an amazing atmosphere," said Raina.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was happy with his team's show. "Overall it was a fantastic game for us," said Dhoni.
"To start off, it was a good toss to win. It was slightly difficult for the opposition bowlers. Our fielding was not up to the mark. In finals, you have to take the game to the next level. So we didn't start well with too many easy misfields," he said.
He was all praise for young spinner Pawan Negi, who grabbed five wickets. "Negi is not afraid to toss the ball. It was important to do that to get something out of the wicket. Just like Kuldeep was also not afraid to toss the ball. He has that variety and will only mature as he graduates into international cricket," said Dhoni.
For Dhoni, more than anything else, winning four out of the eight finals (IPL and CLT20 put together) is not bad at all as it gives him a 50 percent success rate. "What's important is to get to the knockouts. After that you may win games, you may lose games. We have made eight finals, won four, I won't say it is too bad. We made quite a few errors in the last two finals, so what we took out of those finals was really important. Raina was aggressive throughout and he ensured he stayed till the end."
KKR captain Gautam Gambhir said that he has been proud of his team's performance. "All of us should be proud of each other, the way we showed character," said Gambhir.
Gambhir said that his team will only get better with time. "The journey is not yet complete, it has just started. We thought 170-180 was a very good total, but in the second innings there was dew as well, it was difficult to grip the balls for spinners. We have great characters, tough characters. The guys should be proud of what they have achieved. They will be better next year."
Young Pawan Negi said,""There was turn in the wicket, so I tried to bowl slow. It was a big match and a final, I only tried to give my best. The skipper told me during 18th over that you don't have to do anything special. Just do the normal stuff well."