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That RR have had a tough road in the IPL this year is an understatement. Despite all sorts of obstacles, the Rahul Dravid-led side made it to the Playoffs, and even managed to derail the spirited Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator.
However, in Qualifier 2, the Jaipur franchise was unable to trump the mighty Mumbai Indians. While RR’s season may have effectively ended at the Eden Gardens; for local players like Dishant Yagnik, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Rahul Dravid was an ‘achievement in itself’.
Yagnik, who kept wickets and even chipped in with valuable runs in the middle order, was all praises for his skipper. The Rajasthan native also lauded the team management for bringing the entire side together like a family and then leading them to a top three finish in IPL 2013. Here are excerpts from Yagnik’s exclusive post-game chat with IPLT20.com:
Tough luck! But all things considered, this has been a good season?
It is all part of the game – winning and losing. But the way we played throughout this tournament was outstanding. The way Rahul Bhai took the team towards this position was really outstanding. All the team players, management, etc, we are more like a family.
You played a brisk knock versus MI that gave RR a competitive total. Tell us about your knock.
It was like a do-or-die situation. This was the right time when I had to deliver, and by God’s grace I was able to execute all the shots. I knew that the wicket was playing out well because I played for a decent amount of time.
What took the game away from RR?
One thing is that if you keep taking wickets, you continue to be in the contest. However, Mumbai Indians’ first-wicket partnership of 70-odd runs was really good. Then, (Dinesh) Karthik and (Dwayne) Smith played well in the middle overs.
Then, suddenly we started getting breakthroughs. But they needed something like 40 off the last four overs and got a couple of big hits, and that changed the tone of the match. Who knows, had we got wickets at that point, we would have been on the winning side.
How was your experience with RR this season?
As I said before, we stick together like a family – more than a family. It never felt like we were under any kind of pressure. Our only philosophy was ‘express yourself’ – just go on the ground and execute your skills without pressure or tension.
As a result, there have been many standout performers for us. Look at Sanju! He is just 18, then there is Stuart Binny. I have played a couple of good innings too.
Rahul Bhai has constantly backed all of us young players. Even Paddy Upton, the support staff and the management backed us a lot. And they never let us feel like we were playing a big match, and made us feel like every match was a regular game. They just encouraged us to express ourselves and told us that the results will follow.
What is the one thing that you will take away from your skipper, Rahul Dravid?
The biggest thing one can learn from Rahul Dravid is his calmness, no matter what the situation on hand is like. Even his supreme work ethic is unlike any other cricketer in the world. Plus, he is so down-to-earth that he treats us juniors with respect too.
From day one he never made me feel like I am from a small town like Banswara. He has always treated me like a younger brother. So, to share the dressing room and the field with him is an achievement in itself.
2: Number of times Mumbai Indians have reached the IPL final. The earlier such instance was in 2010.
5: Harbhajan Singh was involved in first five dismissals in Rajasthan Royals’ innings – three as a bowler and two as a fielder.
7.27: Lasith Malinga’s economy in IPL 2013 – his worst in a single edition of IPL. His bowling average of 24.77 is also his worst in an IPL tournament.
28: Number of wickets taken by James Faulkner in IPL 2013. He equaled the record of most wickets in a single edition of IPL held by Lasith Malinga (in 2011) and Dwayne Bravo (in 2013)
70: Runs added by Dwayne Smith and Aditya Tare for the first wicket – highest first wicket partnership for Mumbai Indians in a match in which Tendulkar was not playing. The previous best such stand was 46 between Yogesh Takawale and Sanath Jayasuriya against Delhi Daredevils in 2008.
114: Number of sixes hit by Mumbai Indians batsmen in IPL 2013 – most by any side in a single edition of IPL. Royal Challengers Bangalore batsmen had hit 109 sixes in 2012 edition.