Their fate hanging by a thread, Rajasthan Royals captain Ajinkya Rahane believes his side still can qualify for the play-offs even after a bitter six-wicket defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League here.
After a great start by Jos Buttler and Rahul Tripathi, Rajasthan were bundled out for 142, which was chased down by KKR in 18 overs last night.
Rajasthan are lying fourth in the standings with 12 points from 13 games and will now face a virtual shoot-out on May 19 against a resurgent Royal Challengers Bangalore, who are also in contention in a dogfight with three other teams for the two available play-off berths.
“We still have to believe in ourselves. Anything can happen in cricket, it’s a funny game. We have to learn from our mistakes. We were too positive with our batting tonight. But, we have to learn as a team,” Rahane said at the post-match news conference last night.
Rahane admitted that they have not batted well this season as they should have posted something around 175-180 yesterday, especially after the magnificent start provided by Buttler and Tripathi.
“After the magnificent start given by Rahul Tripathi and Jos Buttler, we did not string any partnerships. It’s not about any individual. We lost because we did not apply ourselves in the middle and we needed to get a partnership going. When you get a start like that you have to back yourself,” he said.
“We lost because of our batting. Even in the tournament we did not bat that well except for Buttler whose consistency was good to see. So many things the boys can learn from him. We thought 175-180 was a par score on this wicket.”
Their task has become all the more difficult as their English duo of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler played their last match of the season last night. They will head back to their country for a Test series against Pakistan.
But Rahane said Rajasthan have good overseas players to replace the Englishmen.
“Definitely, we will miss Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. I am really happy for Jos. Because, as a player, it’s everyone’s dream to represent their country in the longer format. We have got 3-4 overseas players with us, they are equally good.
“I’m sure the boys, especially the overseas players, will step up in the last league game against RCB,” he said.