Ajinkya Rahane, the Rajasthan Royals Captain, has come out and stated after his side's disappointing loss in the eliminator of the ongoing Indian Premier League season, that all the credit goes to the Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers for putting his team across an exceptional bowling performance on the big night.
Bowling first Rajasthan Royals perhaps gave away a bit too many, as KKR went onto score a stiff looking 169 on a turning pitch. While in the run chase, RR got off to a very good start because of Ajinkya Rahane's 46 from 41 and Sanju Samson's 50 from 38 but just couldn't make a final push and eventually lost the game by 30 runs.
After the game, Ajinkya Rahane talked about what exactly went wrong for his team and said, “After the second time-out, we needed 60-odd runs from seven overs, When you have eight or nine wickets in hand, you generally end up getting those runs. Our plan was to go deep when Sanju Samson and I were batting. After the second time-out, I just told him I would play some positive shots and if you are still there, you just try and bat deep. Credit goes to KKR bowlers, especially the way they bowled in last four-five overs. If you see in the last 36 balls, we got 30-odd runs. When opponents bowl like that, I think credit goes to them.”
Rahane perhaps made a tactical errorand two in the game when he sent in Heinrich Klassen ahead of K. Gowtham while batting and the overuse of the expensive Jaydev Unadkat with the ball. But he has defended his move, Rahane said, “I think if you see Klaasen is a very good batsman,He did really well in the last game. It’s difficult when you don’t get those runs. You start thinking what if you had sent Gowtham at that number. But we backed Klaasen"
"He tried his best but again, as I mentioned, KKR bowlers, especially the spinners, were really good. With our batting line-up, we wanted to go deep when Sanju and I were batting and to see if Klaasen could come when there were seven or eight overs left. That was a perfect opportunity for him but unfortunately, we didn’t cross the line. But I don’t think the strategy was wrong there. KG’s (Gowtham) batting position, he batted well at No. 6 or No. 7. So credit goes to again KKR bowlers.”
Praising K. Gowtham for setting up the game for his team at the start, Ajinkya Rahane further said, “He (Gowtham) bowled really well but after six (overs), two right-handers were there, so what’s the best chance you have to get that wicket? I felt Jaydev is a very good bowler. Yes, he went for runs tonight but he did really well for us throughout the season. He got those crucial wickets in the middle overs. You got to back your bowlers and I felt at that time Jaydev was the best guy to go rather than KG. But credit goes to Andre Russell, the way he batted and played fearless cricket.”
Batting was the big issue for Rajasthan Royals this year and their captain knows that's where the resurrection needs to start as they prepare for the next season. “Definitely there are areas to improve for us in the next year, We didn’t bat that well throughout the season. We batted well in patches but our bowlers were fantastic throughout the season. We still need to improve our fielding and batting which we will look to do next year and come back stronger.”