Hyderabad, May 20: Sunrisers Hyderabad chief coach Tom Moody has said reaching play-offs of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was rewarding and satisfying for the team.
"Lot of people at the beginning of the tournament gave us no hope whatsoever. So it is very rewarding and satisfying that we managed to work well as a team and jell well as a team and surprised few people," the Australian said after Sunrisers beat Kolkata Knight Riders by five wickets here Sunday night to storm into play-offs.
Moody believes the challenge ahead for the team was exciting. "This is only one step. We had set the goal to qualify. We have reached that and achieved that. Now we need to gather ourselves and plan and prepare appropriately. We got a few days to do that," he said.
Sunrisers, who finished fourth on the table with 20 points, will clash with third placed Rajasthan Royals in the eliminator to be played in Delhi, May 22.
"I don't think play-offs will bring more pressure than today's. Today was final for us. If we hadnt win today we would not have been going to Delhi. Our next game is no different from any other game we played this tournament. As far as I am concerned every game is important to us. Play-offs in Delhi is no different from that. So our whole process and preparation will be no different," said Moody.
Reiterating that they were looking for constant improvement and development as individuals and collectively as a team, he said the team grew significantly as a group over past few weeks.
"From individual point of view you can always improve. As a player the time you stop striving to improve your game, it is time probably you hang the boots up. Every player in our side is constantly looking for improvement. If you want to pinpoint anything in particular there are certain areas where we can sharpen up. There is no doubt about that. That is in all disciplines with the bat, ball and in the field," he said.
Moody said the crowd in Hyderabad was wonderful. The had team built a close relationship with the crowd in a short span of time, he added.
"To have success at home you need a strong crowd rooting behind you, supporting you at every step. In very short period we managed to build close relationship with local crowd."
Moody felt the Sunrisers should have won the match against Knight Riders with a few overs to spare but they reacted wrongly under pressure. Sunrisers were 89 for one at one stage but suffered a middle-order collapse before achieving the target of 131, losing five wickets with seven balls to spare.
"We made it interesting. We should have probably finished with few overs to spare. It was nature of pressure cricket and when you have decent opponents you got to give respect to your opponents. They fought well and tried to get back into the contest," said Moody
Moody was pleased with the opening partnership between Parthiv Patel and Shikhar Dhawan and said they batted exceptionally well.
"Parthiv is reaching nice form. In the last few games he batted well. His timing has been superb. Shikhar took little bit of time to get going. His timing was not quite there. He waited and started to really hit the ball well to show exactly why he is playing international cricket and doing well."
On Ishant Sharma, who missed the match due to flu and fever, Moody said he made a personal sacrifice and Anand Rajan bowled well to show he was more than capable of stepping up when required.