Rajasthan Royals look to bounce back in tournament

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Rajasthan Royal player S Smith relaxing during practice session at PCA stadium in Mohali. (Kamleshwar Singh)

WITH ONLY two wins out of seven matches in this IPL season, Rajasthan Royals are currently placed on the seventh spot in the points table in the eight-team league. The Ajinkya Rahane-led team started their campaign this season with a loss against Kings XI Punjab at Jaipur and their two wins in the tournament so far have come against bottom placed Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians, a match which they won last week. As the team faces Kings XI Punjab for the first time at IS Bindra PCA Stadium, Mohali on Tuesday, all-rounder Shreyas Gopal sounded confident that the team can bounce back in the tournament.

“There have been some crucial moments in the matches so fa,r which we have failed to capitalise. While some moments are controllable, things like bails not falling off the stumps are not in our hands. But there have been small moments, which we have lost on the cricket field. We cannot control that but we look towards taking positives from all the matches. Yes, we have lost five matches but not too many were one-sided. We had some close games and we need to ensure that the crucial moments are in our favour. It’s all about controlling those small moments and we know that we can do that,” shared Gopal.

With seven matches left to play before the play-offs, rajastna Royals are in danger of losing a spot in the play-offs. The team won by six wickets against Mumbai Indians at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai and the team will need to win more than five matches out of the remaining seven to have a chance to qualify for play-offs. Last year, the team won four matches in a row to enter the play-offs before losing to Kolkata Knight Riders in the eliminator. Gopal,who has taken eight wickets in this year’s IPL starred in Royals’ first win of the season against Royal Challengers Bangalore, in which he took the wickets of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. “I am doing well for the team but for me, team’s victory matters than personal achievements. If the team is not winning, you are not doing justice to the abilities. I am happy to contribute for the team with the bat and ball. We have a chance to qualify for the play-offs. We need to win at least five games to have a chance and other teams have done it in the past. We too did it last year when we won four matches in a row to qualify for the play-offs,” added Gopal.

The last four matches at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium have seen teams struggling with dew and Gopal too believes that dew will be a challenge. It will also be for the first time in more than six years that Kings XI Punjab will be facing Royals at Mohali. “Dew is a challenge for every team, whether the team is bowling first or second. But then players train according to such situations. We have practiced with wet balls during our training sessions like other teams do. Bowling second will be the challenge here. Yes, the team is playing here after long but most of us have played here in other formats. So we know things like ground dimensions and other conditions,” concluded Gopal.

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