Rising Pune Supergiant batsman Ajinkya Rahane hailed his side’s Indian bowlers after they qualified for the play-offs following their nine-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab here at the MCA Stadium on Sunday.
“I think credit should be given to our Indian bowlers for the way they bowled under pressure and the manner in which they carried the responsibility that was handed to them,” Rahane said at the post-match conference.
“Our Indian bowlers are not that experienced, so it’s difficult for them to bowl under pressure. But the way they bowled throughout the tournament, it was really good. I think our planning was spot-on. I feel bowling meetings and the way we practiced was really good.”
Rising Pune Supergiant had a terrible start to the tournament, losing three out of four games, before they began their turnaround against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
“We got momentum from that game and sustained it,” Rahane added. “If you see, everyone has contributed in all the games. Tripathi, Smith and Stokes got centuries, Mahi bhai played a crucial knock against Sunrisers Hyderabad. As I mentioned, all the Indian bowlers chipped in. Imran Tahir was very good. So I think there was team effort throughout these 14 matches. I feel even in the play-offs, we have to play together as a team.”
Rising Pune Supergiant will now take on former champions Mumbai Indians in the first qualifier on Tuesday but they’ll miss the services of Ben Stokes who is flying back to join the national team. The Englishman has been consistent this season with 316 runs and 12 wickets in the 12 games he played for the Pune franchise.
Rahane, however, isn’t a worried man. “Yes, we will definitely miss Stokesy because he has done really well for us in both batting and bowling as well as in fielding. But we have a few experienced internationals who have done well in this format. Lockie Ferguson has done well in the one game he played and Usman Khawaja is here too. We are not sure who we’ll play once Stokesy is gone. But all the Indian players are doing well.”
RPS now face Mumbai Indians in the first qualifier.
They have won both their matches against Mumbai Indians this season, and will want to keep the momentum going en route to final. “I think it is a psychological advantange for sure but cricket is a game where what you do on the day matters. It is definitely an advantage that we have won two games against them but Mumbai is a very good team. It will be challenging to face them in Mumbai,” Rahane added.