Dropping Tendulkar cost us - Warne
Shane Warne, the Rajasthan Royals captain, singled out the dropped catch of Sachin Tendulkar as the turning point in his team's 37-run defeat at the hands of Mumbai Indians in Jaipur, their first at the venue in nine games. Tendulkar was on 45 when he top-edged a pull off Siddharth Trivedi and was put down by Aditya Dole at fine leg. He went on to score an unbeaten 89, including 20 off the final over, to boost Mumbai to a challenging score that they managed to defend, to ensure their qualification for the semi-final.
"Dropping Sachin's catch hurt us because he went on to score the runs. We also responded poorly in the bowling and fielding department after the missed chance," Warne said after the match.
Rajasthan began their chase poorly, losing four wickets inside the first seven overs, two of them to run-outs. "The first six overs were a bit of a mess and panic," Warne said. "We conceded 60 runs in the last four overs. I know these things happen but we had a bad start to our run chase. A few run outs also hurt us. But we batted deep with Aditya Dole and (Abhishek) Raut adding few crucial runs in the end."
Some late hitting helped reduce Rajasthan's margin of defeat, but they are currently at fourth place with a net run-rate of -0.288, and two games left to play. They are tied on 12 points with two other teams, but, along with Kings XI Punjab, have played one game more than the rest. "It was not at all a good time to lose a match," Warne said.
Tendulkar was involved in two important partnerships, with JP Duminy and Kieron Pollard. Rajasthan had begun well with three wickets in the Powerplay, but Tendulkar and Duminy rebuilt the innings while Pollard accelerated in the death overs. "We needed a solid performance, and I thought 170-plus was a competitive total on this track," Tendulkar said. "The target was to stay there till the end, because we had lost lot of wickets early on. So that added some responsibility on me and JP.
"I knew it was a matter of a couple of big overs, and they had to come at some stage."
Tendulkar also singled out Zaheer Khan for praise, as he bowled an excellent first spell, nipping the ball away and earning the wicket of Naman Ojha. "Full marks to the way our fast bowlers bowled up front. Zaheer, especially; his first spell was terrific," he said. "The fielding was very sharp and overall good. There were some very important run-outs and catches; when all these things gel together, it's obviously a special performance."