IPL 2016: Ajinkya Rahane says partnership with Usman Khawaja fun, challenging
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Ajinkya Rahane batted with immense confidence and carried his team over the line in the 33rd game of the Indian Premier League against Delhi Daredevils at Delhi. Rahane scored his fifth half-century of the season and remained unbeaten on 63 while chasing a target of 163. He opened the batting with Australian southpaw Usman Khawaja and did a reasonable job at the top. Rahane has been a prolific run-scorer in the recent time across formats and will look to continue his good form in the remainder of the series.  Watch: What Indian ‘Paul Adams’ Shivil Kaushik does before bowling his first ball

The elegant right-handed Indian batsman spoke to Prajakta Pawar on his partnership with Khawaja and carrying his team over the line . Here are excerpts from the interview:

On carrying his side over the line and anchoring the run-chase 

Rahane played a match-winning knock and said, “I am really happy the way I batted. The plan was that one batsman has to be there till the end and it was my day today. So I am happy that I made it count. I felt that the first six overs were very important because the ball was coming very nicely on to the bat and after that it got slower and slower. So after the first six overs, I decided that if I bat till 15th or 16th over we have a good chance to win and that’s what I did. Then (there were) the partnerships with (MS) Dhoni bhai and Thisara (Perera) in the end. The partnership with Saurabh (Tiwary) before that was very good, and the 59-run partnership at top-of the order with Usman (Khawaja) was very important.” Video: Jason Holder gives Arijit Singh a run for his money; sings ‘Meri Aashiqui Ab Tum Hi Ho’


On opening with Usman Khawaja and the challenges to overcome as they batted together for the first time 

Rahane and Khawaja got their team to a good start and the former said, “We enjoyed each other’s company but it was challenging for both of us. Running between the wickets was very challenging because we were batting together for the first time. Hopefully we will get used to each other’s company and will do well in coming matches.”


On his approach while chasing the set target and keeping in mind the strong DD bowling attack

Rahane was astute in his approach and placed his innings sensibly, he said, “I think 162 was a par score. Our bowlers did a fantastic job in the middle overs and we knew that if we get a good start and bat well in the first six overs, (then) we will be able to chase that target easily.”

 

On his fifth fifty this season and his feeling on achieving the landmark

Rahane said, “I am feeling happy at the moment, especially tonight because I was there till the end and that’s what I wanted to do, play that winning shot for my team. The coming five games are very important and it will be important to play one game at a time and give our best in each and every game.”

 

On his role has an anchor

Rahane said, “Yes. If I get set, (and in the) first six overs (I make) around 15-20 not out, my job is to bat till the end. I will look to bat till the end and other players will bat around me.”

 

On assistance for the spinners in the pitch

DD have couple of spinners in the form of Amit Mishra and Imran Tahir, Rahane said, “(There was a) Little bit. There was not much turn but the wicket was slightly slow. Like I mentioned earlier, after the first six overs it got slower. Something was there for the spinners.”

 

On winning the game 

Rahane said, “Yes, it feels nice to win a game. For us each and every game from now on (is important) and we will take it one game at a time, not look to far ahead and give our very best.”