We are getting ready to play our last league game in the IPL season this year. We never expected us to be in this position but that's the way it is and we need to back ourselves to get out of a jam.
Our match against Rajasthan Royals was really a bad one for Mumbai Indians. I had said before that teams who have nothing to lose become very dangerous. They play fearless cricket without any pressure of equations and result. It's what the Royals did. We were completely outplayed and just didn't give our best. We didn't get a good start and then runs didn't come easily enough. We didn't make enough.
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I'd give full credit to the Royals bowlers who bowled in right areas and didn't give us any scoring opportunities. Wickets at regular intervals always kept us under pressure. Sachin Tendulkar tried his best to get us out of it, but this wasn't his day. After him Rohit Sharma played a very good hand to get us some runs on the board. He is one of those rare batsmen who make batting look effortlessly easy.
He has so much time to hit the cricket ball and on song he is an absolute joy to watch. Despite his efforts we could only manage 133 runs on the board, almost 20 to 30 runs short of the target we'd aimed for. Overall we haven't been batting to our potential and that's one area we need to improve - and soon.
This was a very good wicket to bat on and it offered true bounce and carry. When the Royals batted, the conditions were to the liking of Shane Watson and he made the most of it. He was in great nick and played some spectacular shots. There was dew on the ground as well and that made our job a little more tough. Rahul Dravid supported him well from the other end and like always was a silent partner in the crime.
No matter what format of cricket you are playing, class will stand apart. That's what these two cricketers showed us. Both of them play clean cricket, most of their shots are orthodox and they won't let go of any scoring opportunity.
On a true pitch, the bowlers' room for error is very little and no matter what we tried, we were on the receiving end. Full marks to Rajasthan who gave a really ‘Royal’ farewell to their captain Shane Warne playing his last game in the IPL - and in professional cricket.
It goes without saying that Warne meant a lot to Rajasthan Royals and the IPL at large. Ever year he used to come out of retirement to lead this side. And what a leader he was. Under him the Royals have grown immensely and always played above their abilities. His presence and persona will be missed but I am sure he will be back in the IPL in some capacity.
We have to give our best in our last game against Kolkata Knight Riders and if we manage that, the result should come in our favour. Kolkata are a strong team and playing against them at Eden Gardens won't be an easy affair.
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Whatever little I have seen, the Eden wicket has become slow and the ball isn't coming onto the bat. It's offering some turn as well, so batting would be a challenge here. We need to be well prepared for this and must learn from our mistakes. We are a much better side then what we have displayed in our last three games.
Every member of the side is aware of his responsibilities and what's at stake. Now the onus is on us to raise our intensity. We are expected to do better and so we should be.
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