Mumbai: After guiding defending champions Chennai Super Kings to their third IPL final in four seasons here on Tuesday night, Suresh Raina said his aim was to stay till the end and win the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the play-off qualifier.
"I knew it was important to stay till the end. Zaheer Khan was bowling well, but I had to play my shots. I stayed positive. It was important to believe in myself and play my natural shots. I wanted to finish the game for the team," said the left-handed Raina who remained unbeaten on a brilliant 50-ball 73 that included six sixes and four fours.
Riding on Raina's special innings and a 10-ball 28 by Albie Morkel, the Super Kings overhauled the target of 176 with two balls to spare at the Wankhede Stadium.
Raina said the half-century stands with S Badrinath (34) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (29) proved to be crucial in the end.
"There were very important partnerships with Badrinath who played a fine innings and Dhoni who played his shots before Morkel finished the game for us," he said.
He also said the key was in playing straight and hitting shots down the ground.
"I decided to play straight and down the ground," said Raina who was struggling with cramps during his innings.
Raina hoped the team would continue the good work in the final too. "It's good we are doing well in the last four years, one more game to go. Dhoni has been doing well as skipper. It's important to execute your plans in every way in the final. It's a different ball game. I don't know who is going to come to the final, he said.
About Ravichandran Ashwin, who was hit on the left side of his forehead by Saurav Tiwary's drive, Raina said the bowler was doing better.
"Ashwin is fine. He's feeling better now. Hopefully he will be available for the final," said the winner of the man of the match award.
Team official Russell Radhakrishnan said that Ashwin has gone for a CT scan after the match.