Jaipur: Promising India batsman Ajinkya Rahane was disappointed to miss out on a hundred by a whisker, but said his match-winning 98-run knock - which helped Rajasthan Royals notch up a 31-run victory over Kings XI Punjab in IPL 5 on Friday - was very satisfying. Rahane rated the 66-ball innings as one of his best and also praised new skipper Rahul Dravid, whom he considers his role model.
"Yes, I am bit disappointed for missing a hundred but a match-winning 98 is also satisfying. I don't rate it as my best knock but certainly it is one of the best. My 61 against England was also [an] equally good innings," Rahane said after the match on Friday night.
"Regarding the wicket, the ball was coming nicely on to the bat and stroke-making was easy. Skipper Rahul Dravid was a source of inspiration. It is proud moment for me to bat with him as he has been my idol," said Rahane.
Rahane said Dravid and he didn't have any particular plan and just looked to stitch together a long opening partnership when they came together at the crease. "There was no defined role for us and I was striking the ball well, so he was giving me more of the strike and I too would have done so had I been not in good touch," he said. "Our plan was to put up a good opening partnership and [we] had decided to bat on at least till the first powerplay. We were not having any particular plan but thinking of just one ball at a time."
"Dravid kept on motivating me from the other end. We have a good understanding and he prompted me to play [the] full 20 overs," said Rahane, who has been among the most successful batsmen in domestic cricket.
Asked how far this knock would help him to earn a place in the Indian team, Rahane said: "IPL is a big platform and performance in it is closely watched in other countries too. I want to give my 100 percent in every match. Jaipur has been lucky for me and I had made a few good scores here, including a ton in the Irani Trophy. I wish to be more consistent and play long innings."