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Rajasthan Royals batsman says Shakib’s bowling put his side under pressure
By Akshay Manwani
Kolkata 14 April 2012
After winning their first two games of DLF IPL 2012, the Rajasthan Royals have now lost two straights matches. Their latest defeat came against the Kolkata Knight Riders in a low-scoring tie played between the two sides on Friday at the Eden Gardens.
Having gotten off to a good start with openers Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane knocking off 45 runs in the first six overs, the Royals lost three quick wickets to slide to 58 for three by the end of the 10th over. KKR never ceded the advantage thereafter, and their bowlers restricted the visitors to a mere 131 runs. After that, their batsmen brought up a five-wicket win for the home side.
RR’s middle-order batsman Brad Hodge spoke on the game in an exclusive interview with iplt20.com:
Brad tough luck today. 131 was always going to be insufficient.
Probably 140 would have been better. This is a pretty average wicket, but [we were] probably ten runs short. Couple of wickets in the middle and you never know.
Is it fair to say that Shakib Al Hasan’s performance was the difference between the two sides?
Yes. It stopped our momentum in the middle. He got two wickets back-to-back. Whenever you lose back-to-back wickets that hurts. I wouldn’t say it was the difference, but it certainly put pressure on us.
Are you happy with your position at No. 6 in the line-up with the amount of experience your team has?
I just do my job. I just get told what to do and I just do it the best that I can. So far, I have batted at 4, 5 and 6. I just want to contribute to the team, help out Rahul [Dravid] and the team wherever I can. We just have to wait and see what’s in store. Two wins to start the tournament and now two consecutive losses for the Royals. Will it be tough to bounce back in your next game also being played away in Bengaluru?
Yes, it’s a tough turnaround. Road trips were always going to be hard; Mumbai, here and then Bengaluru – that’s three tough matches. If we had got one or two wins out of that, we would have been right in the mix. We need to regroup, get to Bengaluru and put up a really good performance. Generally, it’s a good wicket there and so it should be a good, close contest. You started your IPL career with KKR, then you went to Kochi Tuskers Kerala, and now, here you are playing for Rajasthan. How would you describe your IPL journey so far?
The most enjoyable as a batsman so far were Kochi and Rajasthan. Both were at par. As a batsman, you don’t want to bat on this wicket [Eden Gardens] everyday of the week. Rajasthan, I’ve really enjoyed since I’ve been here. I’m liking what I see, it’s a good atmosphere and a really competitive side. I fit right into the team quite nicely. Enjoyable experience all round.
After disappointing their fans at the Eden Gardens with a loss against the Delhi Daredevils in their first game of DLF IPL 2012, the Kolkata Knight Riders won their second consecutive game by beating the Rajasthan Royals in front of their home crowd. In what was a low-scoring contest between the two sides, KKR chased down RR’s total of 131 for five in 19.2 overs with five wickets to spare. Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine were the chief architects of the home team’s victory. While Shakib walked away with Man-of-the-match honours for his all-round performance (4-0-17-3 and 16 off 10 balls), Narine also contributed strongly by posting economical figures of 4-0-22-1.
Narine spoke to iplt20.com in an exclusive interview following the match:
Congratulations on the victory. With two consecutive wins, the team must be feeling good now?
Yes. Coming into the tournament, losing the first two games and then coming back and winning the next two games could be considered a stepping stone. Hopefully, we can continue winning. Do you think it would have been better for Rajasthan to have batted second on this kind of wicket?
Yes. It was good to get the better of the wicket. Our batsmen adapted pretty well, they came out and delivered the goods. Your first over went for 10 runs, but you came back strongly, conceding just 12 runs and taking one wicket in your next three overs. What did you do differently when you were brought back?
My team required plenty from me. I just came out there, tried to do it for my team and looked to bowl in the good areas. Shakib Al Hasan was sent ahead of Yusuf Pathan and Ryan ten Doeschate in the batting order. Is that because KKR wanted to keep the right-hand/left-hand combination going with Manoj Tiwary out in the middle?
Yes, probably. It wasn’t a bad decision to change the combination. It worked for us.
You came into the spotlight after your performance at CLT20 2011. How different is the IPL from that tournament?
This has a lot more crowd [following it]. But the cricket that you have to play is the same and [in that regard] there isn’t much difference.
And are you enjoying your first experience of the IPL?