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IPL Staff in Mohali 05 May 2012 - 12:39am IST

Hope to finish in top four: Shah

RR batsman says his team can still score enough points to make it to the playoffs

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.

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