CSK’s Ajinkya Rahane attributes new-found IPL form to simply getting more opportunities after his unbeaten 71-run blitzkrieg sets up 49-run win over KKR
CSK’s Ajinkya Rahane during his unbeaten 71 against KKR at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, on Sunday. Pic/AFP
Ajinkya Rahane’s recent run with the bat, complete with awe-inspiring shots and amazing strike-rates, has been a crucial cog in Chennai Super Kings’ surge in IPL-16. On Sunday evening, the Mumbaikar who turns 35 in early June, hit five sixes and six boundaries against Kolkata Knight Riders to race to an unbeaten 71 off just 29 deliveries during a run-feast that saw CSK finish on 235 for four, the highest total by any team this season. It paved the way for a 49-run victory, CSK’s third win in a row while KKR slumped to their fourth consecutive defeat.
The turning point
So, where was the turning point that has produced this new aggressive Rahane?
“The turning point is that I’m getting an opportunity to play. If I’m not playing, how can I show what shots I have,” Rahane replied at the post-match media interaction, suggesting he did not get the backing he needed in the past year or so. “When you play, you learn and try to improve. The way this format is progressing, one needs to keep growing. I always tried to do that... to bring new shots into my game.”
Rahane had turned out as an opener for KKR last season, beginning with a match-winning 61 against Mumbai Indians but managing a disappointing 133 from seven matches before being ruled out with a tendon tear. The Knights showed no interest in getting him back at the December auction with CSK, the only bidders, pocketing him at the base price of Rs 50 lakh.
With Sunday’s evening show has he answered his former franchise?
“That’s for you guys to decide; I just want to do well for CSK and let my bat do the talking. I was really happy that I could contribute to the team’s victory,” said Rahane, who has a couple of centuries and some prolific seasons in the IPL.
‘It’s all about timing’
He is back to show he is no spent force. Though he does improvise, Rahane says his game is still about “timing and proper cricket shots. Just being Ajinkya Rahane.”
David Wiese’s debut for KKR turned out to be a baptism by fire. Despite his team’s predicaments, the Namibian pacer believes the Knights can still go all the way.
“We have quality and players have stood up as individuals at different times; it’s collectively as a team that we have struggled. We’ve seen you can catch the momentum at the backend of the tournament,” added Wiese.