Mohammad Kaif praises Ravichandran Ashwin for adapting well to a tricky pitch against the Delhi Capitals.

Former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif thought Ravichandran Ashwin couldn’t have done better with the bat against the Delhi Capitals in their IPL game on Wednesday. Kaif thinks Ashwin hit well on a track that wasn’t easy for the shot.

As in recent games, the Rajasthan Royals promoted Ashwin to number three and the off-spinner exceeded expectations with the Willows. The veteran hit a 50-38 ball after Jos Buttler and Yashasvi Jaiswal perished on the cheap. He was the top scorer for the Royals and added 53 from 36 deliveries with Devdutt Padikkal.

Speaking on Sportskeeda’s Straight Talk, Kaif claimed that promoting Ashwin in the order was a strategic decision as Sanju Samson had to play the finisher role in the absence of Shimron Hetmyer. Kaif praised Ashwin’s adaptability to tricky terrain, saying:

“The Rajasthan Royals play the horses for the yard game, depending on the demands of the game. It was a good plan, with Samson coming down to finish the game following Hetmyer’s absence. Ashwin played his part to perfection such that it was not easy to hit as the ball came to rest in the field David Warner also suffered a lot of close shaves the ball went up in the air and was dropped it hit the stumps without the balls dropping. As a result, it was not an easy track to hit and I enjoyed Ashwin’s stick.”

Even though the Tamil Nadu-born player’s fifty provided the platform, the Royals couldn’t get the perfect finish. Samson and Riyan Parag had single-digit scores, while Padikkal, who hit 48 out of 30, perished aiming for the big shot.

‘Rajasthan Royals are under pressure as they have 14 points’ – Mohammad Kaif

Rajasthani royals. (Image credits: Twitter)
Rajasthani royals. (Image credits: Twitter)

The 41-year-old feels the pressure is on the Royals, who may lose their remaining two games due to the unpredictability of the format. Kaif acknowledged that Shimron Hetmyer’s finishing touches were decisive for them, saying:

“They are under pressure as they have 14 points. Gujarat Titans have 18 points. At 14 they can even lose two games as anything can happen in the T20 format. They need Hetmyer in the side as his absence has been felt like no other player could hit his position Padikkal perished looking for the big shot and so did Ashwin.

“Rajasthan lost this game in the last four overs when Hetmyer came in and hit big because instead of 180 they only hit 160. Therefore Hetmyer was missed and they have to ticket him for come back soon. He has become a father and has translated that happiness into performances for Rajasthan. It won’t be easy as they face two unmissable games.

“We are used to coming back stronger and we believe in our team.” -Sanju Samson

Samson and Co. next face Lucknow Super Giants on the 15th at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.

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