I am fit and in good rhythm, says Ashish Nehra

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Mumbai, April 18: Chennai Super Kings pace spearhead Ashish Nehra said dismissing Rohit Sharma, when the Mumbai Indians' skipper was poised for a late assault, proved to be crucial in his side's six-wicket triumph over the home side in an IPL match here last night.

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"It wasn't easy with not only Kieron Pollard hitting from one side. Everybody knows what kind of player Rohit Sharma is and what he can do. That was a timely wicket," said the left-arm speedster after the game which provided the visitors their third successive win of the season and confined the hosts to their fourth straight defeat.

Ashish Nehra

The Delhi-born bowler, who was part of the triumphant 2011 Indian World Cup squad before injuries sidelined him, grabbed 2 for 23 which included an up-front spell of 2 for 15 in three overs. He was adjudged man of the match award for his brilliant bowling.

He had Sharma caught by Dwayne Bravo when the MI captain and Pollard, who blasted five sixes in making a 30-ball 64, had rallied the hosts from 57 for 4 to 132.

The 35-year-old, who put MI on the back foot by taking the wickets of Parthiv Patel and Corey Anderson to leave the hosts tottering at 6 for 2, said he did not expect skipper MS Dhoni to bring him on again to bowl the 15th over.

"I have been somebody who, in one-day cricket, has bowled ten overs in three spells or in T20 bowled three overs up front or the last 1-2 overs. Even today Mahendra Singh (Dhoni) gave me over number 15," he said.

"At one stage, I was thinking he's giving it to me too early. He came up to me and told me we need wickets the way game is going you know last 4-5 overs can be 80-90 runs. You have to look to pick wickets and I always try to pick wickets and that's exactly what happened," he added.

'I had a very good rhythm'

After being beset with a string of injuries, Nehra is now After being beset with a string of injuries, Nehra is now injury-free which has helped him a lot in regaining his form, said Nehra who made his Test debut way back in 1999 and has played in only 16 more.

"I had a very good rhythm. I had a very good Champions League. Sometimes in T20, you are bowling well but don't take wickets and people don't notice. I am bowling with the new ball and taking wickets, which is healthy for the team.

"In fast bowling 60-70 per cent is fitness. I am feeling fit and in good rhythm which are helping me. And in the type of team I am in there are very good players and my confidence increases," he said.

"Bowling first or second the first 2-3 overs are always crucial. Everyone knows 180 or 190 is a par score, especially on wickets like in Bangalore (Bengaluru) or Bombay (Mumbai). You always look to bowl tight up front and look to take wickets as you can't bowl 2 overs or 3 for ten runs without taking wickets. If you want to do that you have to swing the ball and bowl in good areas and that's what I was looking to do," he explained.

While Nehra dismissed Sharma, West Indian all-rounder Bravo sent back the dangerous Pollard with a full toss that the big-built Trinidadian put in the hands of the deep square leg fielder. Nehra complimented Bravo for the role he's playing in the team which, he said, has a good bowling unit.

"He gives the side good balance. And we have some really good young bowlers - Mohit Sharma and Ishwar Pandey - and with Bravo being our sixth bowler bowling 2-3 overs, it's a really good bowling unit."

PTI

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