Ajinkya Rahane notched up his second half-century of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 for Chennai Super Kings (CSK), against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at Eden Gardens on Sunday, and the veteran batter has warned that his ‘best was yet to come’.
Rahane got to his fifty in just 24 deliveries, and ended his innings with an unbeaten 71 off 29 deliveries, amassing six fours and five sixes in the process, and striking at 244.83.
Rahane’s 71, and fifties from Devon Conway and Shivam Dube led CSK to a mammoth total of 235/4 from 20 overs.
Rahane was adjudged the Player of the Match for his heroics with the bat.
“Just had a clear mindset. If the thing between your ears is right, your mind is right then you’ll be fine. I’m just trying to enjoy my game. The wicket was a bit sticky, but once you are in you have a great chance. We had a great start, and after that I wanted to play my shots and keep the momentum. I’ve enjoyed all my knocks so far, I still feel the best is yet to come,” Rahane said at the presentation ceremony.
He added that playing under MS Dhoni has been a great learning. “I’ve played under Mahi bhai for India for many years, and now even at CSK it has been a great learning. If you listen to whatever he says, you will more often than not perform,” added the 34-year-old.
Dhoni, meanwhile, said that it was important to give someone like Rahane freedom to bat.
“We realise the potential of someone when we allow him to bat the way he bats. We give him the freedom, give him the best position. In a team environment, someone has to sacrifice his slot to allow the others to get more comfortable, and allow the team to succeed,” Dhoni said.
A huge number of CSK supporters had travelled to Kolkata for the game, and Dhoni thanked the fans for the support.
“I will just say thanks for the support, they came in big numbers. Most of these guys will come in a KKR jersey next time. They are trying to give me a farewell, so thanks a lot to the crowd,” added the 41-year-old.
For KKR, Jason Roy and Rinku Singh scored fifties but lacked major contributions from other batters. Nitish Rana, KKR skipper, said that the defeat was ‘tough’ to digest.
“Tough to digest. Always going to be difficult chasing 236 especially if you don’t have a good powerplay. Have to give credit to Rahane. As I said, it’s tough to digest that we conceded a score like that. We do have some positives. But if you don’t improve. If you keep repeating mistakes against such a big team, you’ll lose,” said the 29-year-old.
CSK next face RR on Thursday, while KKR’s next assignment will be against RCB on Wednesday.