Disappointed after Rajasthan Royals lost the last available IPL play-off berth to title-holders Mumbai Indians on net run-rate, team mentor Rahul Dravid said his bowlers failed to execute the plans well in the exhilarating contest in Mumbai on Sunday.
“It was pretty disappointing to finish like this. But credit to them. They batted really well. To chase 190 in 14.3 overs, in fact make 195 in 14.3 overs, is a phenomenal achievement. It was a good wicket but we did not execute our plans very well. We did not bowl our areas as well as we
should have,” said the former India skipper at the post-game media conference at the Wankhede Stadium.
According to Dravid, there was a period of less than two overs when the game swung in favour of Mumbai who won by five wickets in 14.4 overs with Aditya Tare dispatching James Faulkner for a six over square leg.
“They had a batsman in red hot form (Corey Anderson who made 95 not out in 44 balls), who kept connecting. We could not bowl a couple of good overs. If we had given away 7-8 or even 10 runs the game would have gone out of (their) hand, but they kept getting 15-16 an over kept and stayed in the game.
“After (MI captain) Rohit (Sharma) got out and when (Ambati) Rayudu and Anderson batted there was a period of 12-15 balls when we suddenly gave away 50 runs. That was a critical phase. We could have bowled a couple of better overs. But the boys tried their best.”
Dravid described how both teams got emotional and confused as to who had won at the end of 14.3 overs when the scores were tied at 189.
“We thought we won the game at one stage. Still we had to bowl one ball and they hit a boundary. You can just imagine the emotions. There was sheer disappointment in their camp, joy in our camp (when scores were tied) and then suddenly a ball later that was completely reversed,” Sharma said.
“For sheer emotion and drama, it was one of the best games I had been involved in. Am just disappointed I was on the wrong side of the result,” he added.
Dravid defended the team’s strategy of leaving out Ajinkya Rahane for their first leg game against MI on May 19 which the Royals lost by 25 runs and gave a lifeline to the title-holders, saying the batsman was carrying an injury.
“We were carrying some injuries. We can’t play people when they are not 100 per cent fit. Ajinkya Rahane was injured in that game. We could have played a better game there (after making three changes). Even today we made three changes in a must win game and missed out (on play off berth) on marginal net run rate,” Dravid said.
Dravid felt that the Royals, who could not play a single game in their home base of Jaipur after IPL authorities fixed them at Ahmedabad, missed out on that huge advantage which Mumbai enjoyed at the Wankhede.
“One of the disappointing things was the incredible home advantage made in a place like Mumbai Indians (home venue). They had that, we did not really have a home venue. We have fantastic had results in Jaipur, but we did not have that. We tried to make Ahmedabad our home venue as best as we could.”
Dravid said the dip in his team’s performance towards the end of the round robin stage was crucial to their missing the bus.
“We did not play well in the last three games. We batted beautifully today but have not bowled well in the last three games.
About the changed batting order in last night’s game, Dravid said the team felt it needed some more power upfront and that was the reason for skipper Shane Watson to open the innings with Sanju Samson.
“We probably needed a little bit more runs and power upfront and thought we will go with (Shane) Watson and bat Karun (Nair) and Jinx (Rahane) later against spin.
“Sanju and Karun batted really well so that (James) Faulkner and (Brad) Hodge could come in and blast away from 14-15 overs just after spinners had finished their quota. It worked well for us.”
Dravid looked at the plus points from the 2008 winners’ unsuccessful campaign this year.
“There were a lot of positives. We played well enough to qualify, but missed out marginally on net run rate. The performance of Sanju and Karun Nair were exceptional. Ankit Sharma and Rahul (Tewatia) showed potential for future. Even (Australian) Steven Smith showed he can be a force to reckon with in future.”