The Wankhede track on which IPL debutants Rising Pune Supergiants outplayed Mumbai Indians in the season-opener on Saturday was slightly seamer-friendly wicket and that might have been the reason why premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was given just one over, said Ajinkya Rahane after his side’s win.
Ashwin was given just one over, the 16th of Mumbai Indians’ innings, by Pune and India’s limited-overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and Rahane said the track’s nature, different from the batsmen-friendly pitches of recent vintage, must have prompted the move though he added he really cannot answer it for certain.
“I don’t know (the reason), the captain must be knowing that. This was a different wicket as compared to the wickets we played on against the West Indies (in the WT20 semifinals on March 31) or even the ODI (5th and final in October) against South Africa,” said Rahane after the Pune side thrashed defending champions Mumbai by nine wickets.
“This was a slightly seamer-friendly wicket. Ashwin is an experienced bowler, a quality bowler. (But) today I felt our fast bowlers were bowling really well. It was important to take the wickets and not give many runs,” said Rahane.
Ashwin got the wicket of Ambati Rayudu with his first ball and then gave away seven runs after being belatedly introduced by skipper Dhoni.
Ashwin had been given just a two-over spell in the World T20 semifinal against the West Indies at the same venue and not asked to bowl again by Dhoni during the latter stages of the successful run-chase by the eventual champions.
Rahane’s classy, unbeaten 66 in 42 balls, and opening stand of 78 with South African Faf du Plessis (34) guided the Pune team past the modest target of 122 with 32 balls to spare.
“It feels good to start well in the first game. It was always important to get the momentum (going). I felt it was important to bowl well on this wicket. We thought this could be a 170 or 180 wicket before the game. But the ball was stopping a bit. We got the first 4-5 wickets early. That was very important and credit (is due) to our bowlers,” Rahane said.
“Later on my thinking was to take my time as I knew the ball was stopping and seaming a bit. I wanted to play close to my body. I did not want to take many chances, wanted to play proper cricket shots,” said Rahane, who was named the man of the match.