Rajasthan Royals captain Ajinkya Rahane has lamented the team's failure to build a single partnership of note following their loss to Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Hyderabad on Monday. (FULL IPL 2018 COVERAGE)
The Sunrisers Hyderabad restricted Rajasthan Royals to 125/9 and chased down the target with nine wickets and 25 balls to spare.
"We thought on this wicket, 150-160 would have been ideal total because ball was doing the bit and medium pacers got good help. But, we didn't get that one partnership. I think we lost crucial wickets in between. Partnership was the key in between," Rahane said at the post-match press conference late last night.
Observing that it is just the beginning of the tournament, he expressed confidence that the team would give its best in the coming matches. Replying to a query, he said the team's overseas players, including Ben Stokes, Jos Butler and D'Arcy Short, are very competent players.
"I think foreigners who played, they are really good. D'Arcy Short, he did really well in Big Bash, did well for Australia recently, Joss Butler and Stokes, we all know how dangerous they are and Ben Laughlin is an experienced bowler in T20 cricket," he said.
Australia's Steve Smith stepped down as captain in the wake of the ball tampering row, and Rajasthan are now focused on achieving success with the available resources in hand.
"Definitely, Steve Smith is a quality player. We are not thinking about him right now. It's all about how we can contribute."
He appreciated Sunrisers bowlers Siddharth Kaul and Billy Stanlake for their performance.
"He (Kaul) bowled well. I think him, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Stanlake, three of them they bowled really well. I think Siddharth Kaul, he changed his pace really well. He was bowling, hitting the length hard and that was the key aspect" he said.
Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kane Willliamson, who took over the reins of the team following the ban on regular captain David Warner, said it is a great opportunity for him.
"It is a great opportunity. Fortunate to be able to do it. Obviously, David is a huge part of this team. Fantastic performer, led the team superbly well. There are some changes this year. But, it was nice to come out and play well as a team. It's important we look to improve and grow on this performance for the next game," he said.
He said Warner is a world-class player and that his absence is a big loss for the team.
"I don't think anyone can replace David. He is world class player. It is a big loss for us," he said, hoping that Wriddhiman Saha, who opened the innings along with Shikhar Dhawan, would be able to come up with a good performance in the coming days.
Bowling is Sunrisers' strength and they did a great job in containing the Rajasthan Royals, Williamson said.
"We do have a strong bowling attack. It is a strength of us and the guys executed very well today. So, we have another challenge coming up in a few days time and it is important we look to build on that performance," he said.
He said T20 format requires aggressive cricket and Dhawan, who smashed 78 runs in 57 balls, came in for praise.
"T20 cricket, I suppose, requires aggressive cricket. Shikhar has been in really good space for quite some time. He had a good year last year. The intent he showed today and he has done for India was superb.
"It was just an outstanding performance from him to keep that pressure on the Rajasthan attack," he said.