Mumbai, April 10 (IANS) Rising Pune Supergiants star opener Ajinkya Rahane credited his team’s bowlers for restricting Mumbai Indians to a low total which laid the foundation for their thumping nine-wicket victory in the Indian Premier League (IPL) opener here.
Batting first, Mumbai were on Saturday restricted to 121/8 in 20 overs, thanks to a superb bowling performance by Pune. Ishant Sharma and Mitchell Marsh picked two wickets each while Ravichandran Ashwin, Rajat Bhatia, Murugan Ashwin and R.P. Singh claimed one each.
Harbhajan Singh (45 not out) was the top scorer for the home side.
In reply, riding on Rahane’s unbeaten 66, Pune chased down the target comfortably, losing just one wicket, posting 126/1 in just 14.4 overs.
“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 at post match pres conference.
“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,” Rahane who was named the man-of-the-match said.
Pune’s star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was given just one over in the 16th and Rahane said the seamer-friendly wicket might be the reason behind it.
“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 World T20 semi-finals on March 31) or even the One-Day International (5th and final in October) against South Africa,” the 27-year-old said.
“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,” Rahane concluded.