As Ishant Sharma re-discovered himself with a demolishing five-wicket haul against the Kochi Tuskers Kerala, the gangling paceman credited senior bowler Zaheer Khan for improvement in his bowling.
Ishant took five wickets at the expense of just 12 runs to help Deccan Chargers score an emphatic 55-run win as they bundled out Kochi side for a paltry 74.
"I need to say thanks to Zaheer Khan because he told me to keep working hard on my fitness. Working with him is really tremendous for me," Ishant said after earning the Man-of-the-match award for his special spell.
Asked what inspired him to come out with that kind of performance, Ishant said, "It's not about inspiration, when we were sitting in the dressing room we thought 130 is a good total. When RP's first ball hit the gloves (of Sunny Sohal), we thought we won't mind bowling first on this track."
Winning skipper Kumar Sangakkara said he was satisfied with the total on the board and confident of defending that. "Once we started batting, we though 130-140 is a competitive score. Both Steyn and Ishant were magnificent in the first six overs," he said.
Sangakkara also credited their coach Darren Lehman for instilling confidence in the side. "He has a lot of common sense when it comes to cricket, nothing flash, just go out there and hit your lengths. We need to keep playing good cricket," he said.
Kochi skipper Mahela Jayawardene they knew they have to contend with fire while batting and praised Dale Steyn and Ishant for their outstanding spells.
"I thought it was a good effort by the bowlers. We knew they had quality bowlers upfront and we had to get through that spell. Ishant bowled very well upfront. The pitch had a bit more movement than we expected," he said.
"It was difficult to come back when you are six for five," he added.