Rajasthan Royals skipper Rahul Dravid feels it is the “experience” and “hard work” which helped leg-spinner Pravin Tambe to produce a sensational three-wicket haul in the semi-finals against Chennai Super Kings at Sawai Mansingh stadium on Friday night.
Tambe, who will turn 42 on October 8, produced a brilliant spell of spin bowling to strangle the Chennai middle-order and guide Rajasthan to a 14-run win and Dravid said the leg-spinner has good control on his bowling.
“He has got great control. It’s Tambe’s experience, the number of hours he has bowled in his career. It has been decades now. He’s been bowling in club cricket for decades and he’s very willing to learn,” Dravid said after the match.
“He always talks with [Brad] Hodge and [Shane] Watson about what pace to bowl, what line to bowl. How to counter when a batsman is going after him. He soaking that in. He has really practised hard after the IPL.”
“We always knew he has the skills. Some people were surprised because he is 42-year-old and there were a few raised eyebrows when we selected him, but he has the mental strength to come true. It takes a good temperament to play in such an environment and he has showed he has it in him,” he added.
Dravid described his team’s performance as “fantastic” and said the boys have done incredibly well in the Indian Premier League and the ongoing Champions League.
“We were 15-20 short but we came out and the way we were bowling and fielding was just fantastic. It is incredible to be a part of this dressing room. The way we performed in IPL and here now, it is fun. What we have here is something special, we’ve got a great unit together,” he said.
“I love playing here at Jaipur and its probably my last game here and its been such a fun time and I’ve got so much support from the crowd here.”
Asked about Brad Hodge, who injured his knee after colliding with teammate Shane Watson in the field, Dravid hoped it wasn’t too serious.
“I haven’t talked to Hodge yet, but touch on wood he comes through because we only have four foreign players in the squad and if one gets injured we will be struggling,” he said.
Tambe, who was adjudged the Man of the Match, said: “I’m very happy. It feels great when the team does well and we are in the final of the Champions League.
“I want to thank Rahul bhai and my coaches for believing in me. I don’t know why the batsmen are not able to read me. I just stick to my basics and bowl as well as I can.”
Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said: “We should have done better. The bowlers did a fantastic job. They did well to restrict them to 159 but batting let us down.
“There were a couple of run-outs that added to things.
But the way the lower order reacted to the situation was fantastic. A couple of guys strayed away from their designated roles.
“Ashwin did very well and Morris supported him. The first few overs, the batsman batted well, and the other team knew the conditions better and I knew their bowlers were going to keep things tight.
“It’s not just enough to just bowl fast, they kept a good line, We did well at the start but we have to think on our batting order,” he added.
Ajinkya Rahane, who cracked a 70 to help Rajasthan post 159 for eight, said: “We knew the wicket and the plan was to just see off the new ball and then kick on from there. Its very crucial in at T20 game. I was looking to be positive but when wickets fall I just wanted to stay there till the end.
“My role is to be positive and stay there for as long as possible.”