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Dravid wants batsman to keep smiling

Rahul Dravid is hoping the top order can maintain their form as Bangalore push for a place in the Indian Premier League semi-finals.

Bangalore took a step closer to a place in the last four with an emphatic seven-wicket home victory over Kolkata.

Chasing 161 for victory, Dravid was instrumental in the win as he smashed a superb 52, while Robin Uthappa brought up victory by hitting an unbeaten 52 off only 22 deliveries.

Victory took Bangalore to second in the table on net run rate but tied on points with the Jaipur and Delhi, who have a match in hand.

"We have a great batting line-up and there are seven batsmen in there who can easily bat in the top three," Dravid said.

"It's not easy in a 20-over game, but we've mixed and rotated the order a bit and it was nice to get an opportunity today.

"Jacques Kallis finally got out cheaply and that gave me a chance to bat a bit.

"We've also got a lot of power-hitters in our side and we have to be mindful of the fact that we give them enough overs to make a big impact.

"We saw what Uthappa can do and there are several others who didn't even get a hit today.

"So we have a good batting line-up and hopefully we can keep it going in the next few games."

Dravid admitted his team was spoiled for choice but backed the format which allowed teams to pick only four overseas players per match.

"It's not easy when you leave out people like Kevin Pietersen," he said.

"He is a world-class player, but that's the way the format is because you can only play four overseas players.

"You also have to get the balance right and today we went with two big impact players in Ross Taylor and Cameron White.

"We have a pretty good Indian contingent as well, so it's a tough choice.

"All the teams have a lot of regular international players just warming the benches, but that's the way it is.

"This is the Indian Premier League and rightly only four overseas players are allowed to play."


Dravid also praised the surface at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

"It's a great surface and there is something in it for the fast bowlers as we saw today," he said.

"There is pace in the wicket and it is unlike some of the slow turners we have been seeing at other venues.

"But you can also play your strokes so full marks to the groundsmen because we have had good cricket here."

Bangalore captain Anil Kumble said bowlers did a good job to help win Saturday's match against Kolkata.

"It was a fantastic win for us. Bowlers did a great job. Vinay, Steyn and Kallis bowled exceptionaly well."

"Dravid batted really well to set it up and Robin Uthappa finished it off with his half century," said Kumble.

Kolkata captain Sourav Ganguly said his team will try and wake up from this defeat.

"We got a good start but faltered after that. We should have got to a score of around 180-190. We also did not bowl good enough."

Meanwhile, the Man of the Match, Vinay Kumar said that he stuck to his basics well. He took three wickets in three overs giving away 23 runs.

"I bowled in right areas and it paid off," he said.
 
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