Jaipur/Calcutta: Mumbai Indians were definitely the stronger team on paper, but when it mattered, the Rajasthan Royals showed that they were the superior outfit as their all-round game gave them a comfortable seven-wicket victory, on Saturday.
So the Royals, it seems, have exorcised the ghosts of ‘fixing’ successfully, with youngsters like Sanju Samson and Vikamjeet Malik coming good when it mattered most.
Samson maintained that he enjoyed his innings and was feeling very positive. “I have enjoyed my innings. I had done my preparation and I was hitting the ball well. I was feeling very positive. I am glad that I could bat according to the situation,” he said.
The following are excerpts
Rahul Dravid : It was an important victory. We don’t have the hangover of the last season. Whatever had happened, we have put that behind us. Of course, when he assembled here for the Champions League, we spoke about what happened last season, discussed and decided to put it all behind us. It’s a new beginning….we want to tell people and our fans that we are a good team, capable of playing good cricket.
It is the team effort that has won the match for us. We have few big names in the team, but in the end it’s the team effort, which wins a tie. On his day, Shane Watson can win a match on his own. Today (Saturday) we won because Malik bowled exceptionally well, Sanju (Samson) batted in a great manner….(Ajinkya) Rahane was solid…..everyone chipped in.
Sanju was absolutely superb. Mumbai Indians were a strong team; they had four international bowlers in their team. Yet Sanju batted with great maturity. He is young and growing into a fine cricketer.
Shuffling the bowlers was part of our tactics. It was a strategy that did help in unsettling the rival batsmen. That’s the way we like to surprise people.
Yet again we have come out triumphant at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium. I would like to thank the curator Tapas Chatterjee for it. He has made a top class cricketing pitch. It suits our batsmen.
Rohit Sharma: I think it wasn’t a par score on this wicket. We need to get a strong start to our innings. Having said that, it is just the opening match and I hope we will sort out these issues soon and I am sure we will get better as we play. Pollard’s batting has been a positive for us. We needed to score at least 150.
While bowling, I think there was something in the wicket for the bowlers and we failed to pick up early wickets. Taking early wickets is very important in this format. But then again, I think overall we bowled really well. It’s just that their batting was better. We have to move on. We go to Ahmedabad next. We will try and do well there. I am happy with my batting. I was striking the ball well.
Vikramjeet Malik (MoM): We have been practising here for six to seven days… What I had observed was that if you bowl at the right areas you will get help. With the new ball, you have to bowl in the areas… Otherwise you might get punished. It was Rahulbhai’s plan to give me the new ball… The good thing is we could execute our plans today.
Report on Page 22