Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) Director of Cricket Operations Mike Hesson said on Friday that the most pleasing aspect of the side’s game during the season was that they did not have to rely solely on their retained players. An explosive century by Jos Buttler sent Royal Challengers Bangalore out of the tournament and Rajasthan Royals to their first IPL finals since 2008 as they chased down the target of 158 set by RCB in 18.1 overs. For RCB, it was only Rajat Patidar who looked like the only real threat throughout the game with his 58-run knock.
“If you rely solely on one or two players, you are not gonna make it to the playoffs. The beauty of our side is that we did not only rely on our retained players. We did build a squad around them but we did not have to rely on them during every game. The most pleasing aspect was that so many different players stood up,” said Hesson during a post-match conference.
About the match, Hesson said that at the end of 15 overs, the side was in a great position with Maxwell and Patidar settled with 123/3 on the board.
“We were in a position to get 175, potentially 180. In the last three overs, Obed McCoy and Prasidh Krishna bowled well and we struggled to get any momentum. You do not want to get 30 off the last five, they probably left us 20 runs short,” he added.
Hesson admitted that the side’s death overs batting was exceptional throughout the season, except for the match against RR that sent them out of the tournament.
“There are a number of guys standing alongside Dinesh Karthik, who has been outstanding for us this season. Patidar (Rajat Patidar) has power, Shahbaz (Shahbaz Ahmed) has shown he has power, Lomror (Mahipal Lomror) has shown power,” he added.
Hesson said that non-established players like Rajat Patidar, Shahbaz Ahmed and Mahipal Lomror were huge positives for the side this season.
“From a bowling point of view, Harshal Patel was exceptional. DK came in and performed an incredibly tough role. We really struggled to get consistency and he was probably one of the most consistent players at the back end of the innings. Josh Hazlewood was impressive and Wanindu Hasaranga got us many middle over wickets,” he added.
The Director of Cricket Operations said that though Mohammed Siraj did not have the best tournament this time, he is still a fine bowler.
“He did not get those new ball wickets, could not get the ball swinging and lost a bit of confidence. But he will bounce back,” he added.
Siraj could not find much success this season, getting only 9 wickets this season at an average of 57.11 and a poor economy of 10.07.
On Virat Kohli, Hesson said that the batter got better as the season progressed and looked in good touch in final four to five matches.
Kohli did not have the best IPL this time around. Though he scored runs in the final few games, he ended with 341 runs in 16 games at a sub-par average of 22.73 and two fifties under his belt. 73 is his best individual score this season.
He further said that he is pleased with the way the team gelled with each other this season.
“There are always things that you want to tweak. When you are knocked out, you find things to improve on,” he added.
Coming to the match, put to bowl first, RCB posted 157/8 in their 20 overs, with Rajat Patidar standing out with 58. Glenn Maxwell (24) and Faf Du Plessis (25) delivered other notable contributions. Obed McCoy (3/23) and Prasidh Krishna (3/22) were standout bowlers for RR. Chasing 158 turned out to be quite easy for RR, as Jos Buttler’s explosive 106 off 60 ensured that his side chased it down with 11 balls and seven wickets to spare.
Now, Rajasthan Royals will take on Gujarat Titans in the finals on May 29 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. This is RR’s first final in 14 years. The last time they reached the finals was during the inaugural season of the league, which they won by three wickets against Chennai Super Kings and clinched their first IPL title. Gujarat Titans have also reached the finals in their debut season.
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