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RR batsman says his team can still score enough points to make it to the playoffs
By IPL Staff
Mohali 05 May 2012
After holding the pole position in the initial phase of the tournament, the Rajasthan Royals are currently placed at No.7 in the points table. The Rahul Dravid-led team will take on the Kings XI Punjab, who they have beaten earlier this season. Strengthened by the inclusion of Shane Watson, RR will be keen to get back into the race for the top four spots in IPL 2012. Excerpts from Owais Shah’s media interaction ahead of the KXIP match:
On RR losing their last few matches after starting off well
[...] Like you said, we started very well and last game was one of those where we played badly, but the game before that is the one that really hurt us. We really needed to win that game; the one against Delhi Daredevils in Jaipur. But it is one of those things where we didn’t have much luck in that game and we didn’t play very well against DD [in Delhi] and had back-to-back losses. [...] Twenty20 is such a game where you can play all the [good] cricket and still lose [...] But it is not too late. There is still plenty of [games in] the tournament left [to be played]. There is no one apart from Delhi [Daredevils], no other team that has pulled away from rest of the group; so all is not lost. We didn’t play very well in the last game, but we hope to change that starting from tomorrow, and hope we can pull enough wins together and finish in the top four.
On why most teams are in a tight race
I don’t know the reason. But typically [teams like] Mumbai [Indians] and Chennai [Super Kings] usually dominate; especially Chennai. But this year, those teams haven’t quite dominated like they normally do. [But] obviously Delhi [Daredevils] has. But this is a good thing for the tournament. There are still three places open for teams to qualify for the last four places. [...] it is a good thing because leading up to the last five or six games, there is still enough interest from all the other teams [...].
On his form
[...] The last game I didn’t do well. I played a poor shot. The game before that, I played one ball [...]. In the games before that, we played [Royal Challengers] Bangalore [...] and sometimes you got to take a chance when you are chasing. [...] Unfortunately, sometimes the chances that you take, the shot you play, don’t come off. [...] That’s Twenty20. You try to get the runs on the board, and I guess it is my job to play the explosive role. [Like] if I am playing with Rahul Dravid, his job is to play through and it is our job to go in and get in quickly and take shot. [...] I feel mentally I am in a very good space. I hope to put a score together and try and win RR a game. [...] That [winning] is more important for me then not scoring runs. [...]
On losing Kevon Cooper to injury
Kevon was unfortunate to be injured. We are all disappointed that he got injured, because it is always good for the team to be able to select when everyone is available. Every time he played, he did well. But we are lucky enough to have another very good all-rounder in Shane Watson [...]. We are disappointed in not having Cooper because he also added a lot of depth in our overseas group of players. [...] The main goal for the team right now is to start winning some games and get to the top four teams. On whether not having a strong bowling line-up is adding pressure on the batting line-up
Every team has a strength and a weakness. [...] We have some international experience and our captain, Rahul Dravid. We have some good players, but don’t underestimate our bowlers. The kind of pitches we play on in India, I think are suited to our kind of bowling line-up; especially in Jaipur where you bowl wicket to wicket and slower balls, etc. [...] I don’t think it puts pressure on our batting. The batters always put their hands up if we fail. [...] It was poor performance in the last game, and we are hoping to put that right.
Match 48 of DLF IPL 2012 will see Kings XI Punjab square off against the Rajasthan Royals.
KXIP started the tournament slowly, but they’ve found their form as the tournament has progressed. They are now very much in the race for a place in the playoffs. David Hussey and co. have won three out of their last four matches and are placed mid-table with five wins from ten matches overall. They come into this contest after beating two formidable opponents; they defeated the Chennai Super Kings and the Royal Challengers Bangalore in away games, and will look to carry that momentum into this home game.
The Rajasthan Royals have lost a bit of steam after impressing in the early days of the tournament. They have eight points from ten matches and have finished on the wrong side in each of their last four matches (including in two last-ball finishes against the Chennai Super Kings and the Delhi Daredevils). With the race for a place in the playoffs getting close, Rahul Dravid’s team will realize that they need to start winning before other teams firm up their places in the top four.
Saturday, May 5, 2012, 08:00 p.m.
Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
David Hussey and Shaun Marsh are perhaps the two most important names in the Kings XI Punjab line-up – and for obvious reasons too. While the former is the most capped player and the leading run-getter in the Twenty20 format, the latter has been among the most consistent run-getters in the IPL.
While the attention has been on Marsh and Hussey, Mandeep Singh has maintained a low profile and scored enough runs to be his team’s highest run-getter. The 20-year-old has been used in a variety of roles and he’s scored runs almost every time he has gone out to bat.
Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Dravid and Owais Shah have been the top performers for the Rajasthan Royals this season. While Rahane currently holds the Orange Cap, Dravid and Shah are among the top ten run-getters this season. Given the kind of form they have been in, they will continue to be the key characters in the RR line-up.
Prior to this season, the head-to-head record between Kings XI Punjab and the Rajasthan Royals stood at 4-3 in favour of the latter.
That record swayed further towards the Royals after their 31-run win over KXIP earlier this season. In a high-scoring match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, RR (playing their first match of the season) posted 191 for four – thanks mainly to Ajinkya Rahane’s sparkling 98. They then restricted their opponents to 160 for nine.
The Rajasthan Royals have scored the most boundaries this season; they’ve hit 162 fours and 45 sixes in their ten matches.
In his two previous stints in the IPL (while playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders & Kochi Tuskers Kerala), Owais Shah had only scored 141 runs in eight matches. This season, he has almost doubled that tally – he has scored 280 runs in ten matches.
Rajasthan Royals’ next stop will be the education capital of India, Pune, where they will take on the Pune Warriors India on May 8. Kings XI Punjab, meanwhile, travel down south to take on the Deccan Chargers in Hyderabad later on the same day.