Ajinkya Rahane showed his class when it mattered the most for Delhi Capitals. Rahane, who had been short of runs and also in and out of the DC playing XI in this IPL, scored a superb 46-ball 60 to help his side beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 6 wickets and qualify for the playoffs as the No.2 side in the points table.
Reacting to Rahane’s ‘solid innings’, former India opener Virender Sehwag said very few rate him as a T20 player but it is always important to have someone like Ajinkya Rahane in the playing XI who provides you stability, allowing the others to attack.
“Very few rate him as a T20 player. They say he can’t hit the fours and sixes but when you have a solid player like him in your team then you can attack from the other end,” Sehwag told Cricbuzz after the Delhi Capitals beat RCB on Monday.
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Sehwag also credited DC head coach and former Australia captain Ricky Ponting for backing Ajinkya Rahane despite the veteran cricketer being short of runs in IPL 2020.
“It was a tough call for Ricky Ponting as both Ajinkya Rahane and Prithvi Shaw were not performing. But he backed and played them, it was a tough decision,” Sehwag said.
The former India opener lauded Rahane for combing back strongly to help DC chase a target of 153.
“You play an experienced player because you know that he might not have scored runs for 3-4 games but he can come back in the next game with a big innings. That’s what Ajinkya Rahane did. He scored 60 off 46 balls and also scored at a strike rate of 130 which is more than his average scoring rate.
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“DC needed an innings like that only. The strike rate didn’t matter that much, they needed someone to play a solid innings and bat till the 15-16 the over,” added Sehwag.
Getting their act together in the nick of time after a two-week winless run, DC chased down a target of 153 with six balls to spare.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan (54) and Ajinkya Rahane (64) struck fine half-centuries to power DC to their target after their bowlers dished out a clinical performance and restricted RCB to 152 for seven.
This was a much-needed victory for Capitals after four defeats in a row.
Rahane and Dhawan stitched an 88-run partnership after the South African pace duo of Anrich Nortje (3/33) and Kagiso Rabada (2/30) led a fine bowling display to restrict RCB.
The Capitals will get two shots at qualifying for the final, while RCB will play in the eliminator.
“The victory was important (For Delhi Capitals). Whether they won it by 2 wickets or 10 wickets, it wouldn’t have mattered. They needed to win to finish in the top 2,” Sehwag said.