Shane Warne, the Rajasthan Royals captain, has said the inexperience of some players has been a crucial factor in his side's early exit from the tournament. Rajasthan were beaten by eight wickets in a must-win game against Kolkata Knight Riders, depriving them of a semi-final slot for the second successive time, after having won the inaugural edition.
"Inexperience has cost us in certain big moments," Warne said after the game. "When you don't have experience in tough situations you may have some tendency to panic. It is really disappointing not to qualify for the semi-finals."
Rajasthan began the tournament on a poor note, losing their first three games but fought back to win four in a row. But they ended disappointingly, with three consecutive defeats after proving strong contenders for a place in the final four. "To win six games out of eight after losing three in a row shows a lot of character," Warne said. "Unfortunately there was pressure in the last three games and it all boiled down to this one. I think our inexperienced showed."
Rajasthan were restricted to a below-par 132 on a slowish track in Kolkata after Shane Watson had delivered an attacking start, and failed to defend it as a result of a half-century from Sourav Ganguly. "We did not get enough runs after a good start," Warne said. "We tried everything, different field to get a wicket but it did not happen. As captain and coach I take full responsibility. I take full responsibility for three losses in a row."
When asked if he would return for the fourth edition of the IPL next year, Warne said: "I am not sure, to be honest. I think I am still good at captaincy and also bowling pretty well.
"It's a completely different set up next year. It depends whether there will be retention by the franchisees or everyone going up for auction. For me it's all about enjoyment. I think I am fit enough."
Ganguly starred for Kolkata in the field and with the bat, taking a stunning catch to dismiss Yusuf Pathan and following it up with an unbeaten 75 to steer his team home. The win keeps Kolkata's semi-final hopes alive, though they need to beat Mumbai Indians and wish for other results to go their way to qualify. "We have played some outstanding cricket, have been poor at times like the game against Punjab and Bangalore recently. We lost the way. We have let important moments slip out also," Ganguly said.
Kolkata had lost Brendon McCullum and Chris Gayle early in their chase, but an unbeaten 111-run stand between Ganguly and Cheteshwar Pujara saw them through. Kolkata needed to win big, but pair opted for a game of caution before opening up following the time-out to ensure victory with 23 balls to spare. "It was a difficult wicket, it was turning and stopping also. We lost two wickets, we needed to build a partnership," Ganguly said. "First think about winning the game before thinking about the run-rate. If we don't win the game then run-rate does not matter."