Jaipur: He might have been the star of Rajasthan Royals' win over Pune Warriors in a high-scoring IPL thriller but Ajinkya Rahane was modest about his role, opting to praise his team's bowlers for keeping it tight in the death overs.
Chasing 179, Rajasthan romped home with five wickets and a ball to spare on Sunday. Rahane was the star for them bagging the man of the match honour for striking a 48-ball knock of 67.
"I feel our bowlers came back strongly and restricted the visitors a good 10-15 runs short than what was expected at one stage. They should be given credit for the way they bowled in the last 6-7 overs," said Rahane after the match.
The 24-year-old, who is seen as a bright prospect for the future, was not picked in India's Champions Trophy squad but Rahane said he would rather focus on performance than selection.
"I wanted to contribute and play well. Selections are not in my hands," said Rahane.
Talking about Sunday's match, Rahane said his strategy was to stay at least till the 15th over to ensure the team was close to a win.
"We had planned to play our normal game. The skipper (Rahul Dravid) too had asked me to stay till the 15th over and play positive cricket. The plan was that either of us had to be there till the end but it did not work out," Rahane said.
"I am a little disappointed but also happy that Binny (Stuart) and Sanju (Samson) accomplished the job," added the batsman, who put on 98 runs for the opening wicket with Dravid.
"It is toughest to chase in the Twenty20 format. We always have to keep the wickets and run rate in mind. We wanted to take it to 17th over where 20 off 15 would be needed."
When asked how it was when he was batting with Dravid, the youngster said he is learning from the great player.
"It has been a great learning experience batting with him. I have been watching him since my childhood and still learning from him," said the batsman.
Talking about the next two home games against Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings, Rahane said his team is focusing on one match at a time.
"Delhi is a pretty good side. We want to take one match a time, so, we are not thinking much about the playoffs," he said.
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