Rajasthan Royals skipper Rahul Dravid is extremely content with the way his players performed against Sunrisers Hyderabad following the shock spot-fixing scandal that engulfed his team.
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Rajasthan took field a day after three of their players were arrested by Delhi police on the charges of spot-fixing.
"There is no point brushing things under the carpet. Tough couple of days for everyone concerned. But, I was happy the way boys responded to this challenge. It was not easy for all of them," Dravid said after his side's 23-runs defeat. (Giving BCCI full support in inquiry: Raghu Iyer, CEO, Rajasthan Royals)
"But, I think once we crossed the line, I could sense that everyone was playing to win, everyone wanted to do their best, everyone was trying to put up a really good show for our fans. We had some great support. It was really a pleasure to lead the team," he added.
Dravid also appreciated the way the Hyderabad spectators supported them.
"It is always great to play in Hyderabad. The crowd was terrific today. They supported Sunrisers but they were also supportive of good cricket from our side. So, it's great to play in Hyderabad. I wish the wicket was better," he said. Also read: Chappell, Sreesanth a pain for Dravid: Ganguly
Dravid said his team could not adapt quickly to the conditions while the home side played well to outsmart them.
"I thought we did the first half of the game quite well. We always knew that in Hyderabad even 135 would be very difficult to chase. But we have been batting quite well lately, chasing, so we thought we might be able to do that.
"But, I think credit to Sunrisers, they bowled really well in that middle period. Between the fifth and 10th over, we got only 12 or 13 runs, we lost two wickets. I think that's where we really lost the game. They play well in these conditions. We did not adapt as we could have to these conditions," he said.
Dravid said things could have been different for his team had he and Ajinkya Rahane managed to stay on for long.
"It was not an easy wicket to bat on. Let's be honest. May be, if we could have carried on that partnership for another 20-25 runs, me and Rahane not lost that wicket, may be our batsmen could have come in in the end, got the 60, 70 we needed," he said.
Dravid said his side was now targeting their second title and for that they would prepare hard in Jaipur.
"It's a good break. We will go to Jaipur and regroup and get a good practice sessions in the ground we like. And then go to the play-offs. I think it is really great achievement for the boys to make it to the play-offs. We have a chance to have a crack at the trophy. So, we will prepare ourselves and really looking forward to the play-offs," he said.
Replying to a query, he said he is more happy about RR entering the play-offs than his personal achievements in the current edition of IPL.
"Biggest thing for me is that we qualified for the play-offs. That is a much bigger achievement for me than all the runs that I scored. For me, this season was not really about me scoring runs. For me, trying to help the team reach the play-offs. We made the team stronger over the last three years. We worked with the team, worked with the youngsters and ensured that we made it to the play-offs. Now that we made it to the play-offs, we are a little greedy. We want to go to the next step," he said.
He also praised James Faulkner who came up with a superb five wicket haul in the match.
"He is a fantastic cricketer. He is just 22 years old. He is very young in international cricket. He performed really well. He has got a bright future ahead. He is a very good batsman as well. Australia is lucky to have him," he said.