Chennai Super Kings (CSK) paceman Ashish Nehra was instrumental in helping his side register a victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Qualifier 2 of the Pepsi Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015 in Ranchi on Friday.
He was adjudged man of the match for picking up 3 wickets for 28 runs in four overs.
Nehra picked up the wickets of Virat Kohli, Ab de Villiers and Dinesh Karthik to break the backbone of the RCB middle-order.
Chris Gayle and a late bltiz from Sarfaraz Khan helped RCB reach a respectable total of 139 but at the end it was another veteran, Michael Hussey, who turned the table upside down for CSK and guided them to a brilliant victory.
"I can't just say that this is the best IPL I have had till date. Even in 2008 when I played for Mumbai Indians or for the Delhi Daredevils in 2009 and 2010, I was bowling really well. At that time obviously I was five years younger as well. But when you pick wickets, people remember you more.
"I have got three or four Man of the Match awards this season and that says it all. For a fast bowler to pick up that many awards in one season is not easy," said Nehra in an interview to the official website of the IPL.
The pitch on Friday was helping spinners once the ball got old. It was difficult for pacers to generate movement off the deck. But Nehra bowled brilliantly to remove two of RCB's best batsmen, Kohli and Ab de Villiers, to turn the tide in CSK's favour.
"It was a very slow pitch and picking up wickets and getting their top order was crucial. We were successful in doing that by picking up Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers; otherwise they would have scored atleast 160. Chasing that much would have been really difficult.
"On a pitch like this, it is very difficult to bowl slower deliveries in the first six overs because you have only two fielders outside the circle.
"But once the six overs are finished, you have to bowl well in the 6-18 over window. That is the time when you have to bowl a lot of slow balls or yorkers. You have to mix it up," Nehra said.
After winning Qualifier 2, CSK will now face Mumbai Indians (MI) yet again in the big final at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday. Nehra is pumped up for the big game and is also hopeful that his side would clinch the cup for the third time in eight years.
"It will be a great atmosphere at the Eden Gardens with seventy to eighty thousand people. We lost against Mumbai Indians in the league stage and we will look to win. It will be an even contest but if we play to our potential we can beat Mumbai Indians and lift the trophy," concluded Nehra.