Rajasthan Royals skipper Rahul Dravid heaped praise on Shane Watson, saying the Australian is a genuine match winner and his 34-ball 70 was one of the “finest” knocks, which reminded him of David Miller’s hurricane century.
Watson butchered Chennai Super Kings bowlers in a sensational batting display as Rajasthan Royals scored a comprehensive five-wicket win in their Pepsi IPL match here last night.
“We had hoped that he would play such a knock because he is a genuine match winner. The way he took on (Ravichandran) Ashwin and released the pressure. It is the finest batting I have seen. At 45 for four we were under huge pressure but he played a Miller-like innings which changed course of the game,” said Dravid at the post-match press conference.
Kings XI Punjab’s Miller had smashed a 38-ball 101 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in one of the matches of the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League to help his team register a victory.
Dravid also applauded the efforts of Stuart Binny (41 not out), who gave a good support to Watson last night.
“Binny (Stuart) is a really improved cricketer now. The way he has handled the pressure shows he has really matured and it is time that the national selectors also take note of his performance. In T20 format he is a superb finisher and contributes with the ball too. I am really happy for him,” said the former India captain.
“We gave him the confidence that he would in all games for us. Unfortunately he had to miss the previous match due to an injury but came back strongly. He also bowled three good overs and took one for 17, and then had to come in when we were struggling at 45 for four. He along with Watson put us on victory course and his contribution was important for us,” he added.
The skipper said that his bowlers did a good job to restrict Chennai to 141 for four, especially after they had compiled 83 without loss at one stage.
“We had come under pressure as they looked good for a 160-170 run total at that stage. Our bowlers came back strongly and we restricted them to 141. We knew we would need one good knock to chase 145-odd target. Credit goes to our bowlers,” he said.
Rajasthan Royals are placed at No. 2 position in the points table with 10 wins and just four loses from 14 games.
With 20 points in their kitty, the Royals have almost assured themselves of a berth in the play-offs.
But Dravid warned his team not get over excited.
“Chennai is a big team and it is heartening to note that we have beaten every other team in the tournament now which is a great record. The victory has given us a bit of breathing space but others are still snorting at our heels.
“It is good to be in such a position but we have a long way to go. We have two away matches and Mumbai Indians are a tough team. We should not be over excited with this victory.
We have to keep our feet on ground and concentrate on one match at a time,” he insisted.
Stating Royals’ secret of success is the team spirit, Dravid said, “We have options. We have played 24 players in our 14 matches, which has helped us mix and match, chop and change the playing XI. I am happy that whosoever has come in has delivered for us. I feel (James) Faulkner has the batting talent and I hope that he would come good soon.”
He also praised the Jaipur wicket, saying curator Taposh Chatterjee prepared one of the best wickets.
“There is something for everyone. The bowlers were getting movement and batsmen like Shane Watson, Murali Vijay proved that it was conducive for batting too.
“The crowd here has been tremendous. The support has helped us maintain a 100 per cent record on this ground.”