Shane Watson en route to his unbeaten 90, on Tuesday
Pune: The result of the Pune Warriors India versus the Rajasthan Royals match, on Tuesday, depended much on how the Australian recruits of the respective teams perform.
While Michael Clarke and Steve Smith were the carriers of the Warriors’ flag, Shane Watson and Shaun Tait had the responsibility of leading the charge for the Royals.
A look at the scorecard of the match, which was ultimately won by the Royals by a thumping margin of seven wickets, will narrate why recruiting the right overseas player assumes such importance at the auctions.
With the bat, Clarke and Smith’s combined effort earned the Warriors a mere 34 runs. On the other hand, Watson alone scored an unbeaten 90, that too off just 51 balls, for the Royals.
In the bowling front, the Royals’ Tait was devastating with three wickets conceding just 13 runs from his four overs. For the Warriors, Clarke could manage just a single scalp.
That then shows what the difference between the two teams were. With two consecutive wins in away matches, the Royals are thus back in the reckoning for a berth in the knockout stage of IPL-V.
They have amassed 12 points from 12 matches and are placed fourth in the points table.
The Warriors, having won just four of their 13 matches, are no longer in the race of making the playoffs.
At the post-match presentation ceremony, Royals’ captain Rahul Dravid said that his team’s aim is to play good cricket and not thinking about their position on the points table.
Sourav Ganguly, the Warriors captain, pointed out that they were able to hit just five boundaries and two sixes in their entire innings.
And as far as Man of the Match Watson is concerned, he issued a warning to rivals. The Aussie announced that he has switched on to the T20 mode.
The following are excerpts
Rahul Dravid: I am really happy with the way we are playing… You can always win games. But a captain is really satisfied if the win comes after his team play quality cricket. We lost the toss at the beginning. We knew that we have to contain their batsmen. We could not give them easy balls to score. I think that the bowlers delivered for us in the last couple of games.
It was a clinical performance from our side. The bowlers were terrific. Shane Watson was brilliant out there. It was not an easy wicket to bat on, but he had the power and the technique to hit boundaries. We are not looking at the points table and are aiming to play good cricket.
I always tell the guys to focus on playing good cricket. We know that it is a pretty tough competition and there are some teams who can really come good on a particular day. The best that we can do is to play good cricket. That’s what we have been doing in the last couple of games and that’s what we plan to do in our next four games.
Sourav Ganguly: We were surprised that we could only hit five boundaries and two sixes in our innings. So that tells you what went wrong. It actually sums up the game. We should have hit more boundaries. I think 140 could have been a good total on this wicket… We also failed to bowl well. Shane Watson played well. We should have got him early. But that did not happen.
Yes, it is a fact that we are out of the playoffs. But we need to play some good cricket in the remaining three games.
Shane Watson: I don’t know how I got those runs. The wicket was a bit slow… I suppose it was my night... I just backed myself. I had a clear mind. I kept it simple. I tried to hit straight and it came off pretty well. Initially, I was thinking of getting ahead of the rate so that it would get easy in the middle of the innings. I looked to settle down in the first six overs.
After coming off from playing Test matches in the West Indies, I was a bit rusty in the first match. But after a couple of practice sessions, I switched on to the T20 mode.