Rajasthan Royals are still mathematically alive in the race for a play-off berth but seamer Sandeep Sharma on Thursday said they will enter their final league game against Punjab Kings’ thinking it’s their last outing of this IPL season. Considering their superior net run rate, Rajasthan Royals are better placed than Punjab Kings ahead of Friday’s game but both will have to rely on other results after an up and down season.
“This kind of game is the easiest to play in, you don’t have to think much, just go out there and express yourself. As of now we are entering tomorrow’s game as the season’s last one and will look to end it on a positive note,” Sandeep said on the eve of the match.
“Obviously it is a bit stressful, every team wants to qualify for the playoffs, and we found it difficult this year. But, at the same time, as a professional player we have to perform and try to win the game for our team.” Rajasthan Royals, who looked the team to beat in the first half of IPL with four wins from their first five games, only have themselves to blame for their troubles.
While Sandeep starred in the team’s win against Chennai Super Kings with his two brilliant yorkers in the last over, his no-ball in the final delivery cost Rajasthan Royals the game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, as Abdul Samad hit the bowler straight over his head for a boundary to win the match for SRH.
“If you are bowling first and you are hit for 15-16 runs, then nobody even thinks about it. But you are bowling second and you have to 15-16 runs, then there is a lot more pressure on the bowler. But for a bowler it is important that he is not scared of the situation and instead accept the challenge.
“And as you can see, batters are too good these days, and boundaries are small, chasing 15-16 runs in the last over is not a big deal anymore.
“So it is important for a bowler to hold his nerves, work hard during training sessions, have faith in his ability and try to execute his plans. Some days you will win a game for your team, and some days you will lose. But it very important to keep practicing and keep trusting yourself,” Sandeep said.
Despite exemplary performances from the likes of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Yuzvendra Chahal, the star-studded outfit has flattered to deceive.
Jos Buttler too has played some sensational knocks but has not been consistent enough. Having being dismissed without scoring in the previous two games, the England batter will be itching to perform in the do-or-die game on Friday.
“I think we have played some really good cricket this season. In some games we couldn’t control the crucial moments so we ended up on the wrong side. But I am pretty sure this ground (HPCA Stadium) is going to suit us a lot.
“I think we have got a few good swing bowlers… when you are bowling in such conditions you try to bowl in good areas, in good lengths, try to swing the ball till its swinging and after that you need to bowl variations.
“It is always easier to plan your bowling by watching other games. We will try to have better plans for tomorrow,” he signed off. PTI AH AH PDS PDS
Topics mentioned in this article