The risk-free tactic used by opposition batters has helped Rashid Khan deploy a defensive game-plan of trying to hold one end up while allowing the bowler at the other end go for the kill.
In his fifth IPL season, Rashid is no longer an unknown quantity and the batters across franchises re trying to see off his overs while trying to go after other bowlers in Gujarat Titans line-up.
While an economy rate of 6.73 in 15 games is very impressive, Rashid is currently ninth in the overall list with 18 wickets.
“My mindset wasn’t any different in play-offs. The energy and the thought process is the same throughout. But teams are playing it safe against me. So, I am trying to keep it tight and that increases the chance of picking up wickets by the bowler at the other end,” the Afghan spinner said ahead of Sunday’s final.
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For him, hitting one particular area is key.
“Irrespective of whether it is a league game or knockouts, my mindset is to bowl in a certain area and I don’t try anything different. My objective is to build pressure,” Rashid said at the pre-final press conference.
Evolving as a batter
Rashid has shown that he is no mug with the bat with nine sixes and a strike-rate of 206 plus in this season. Having developed a second skill obviously boosted his confidence and especially after contributing in finishing a couple of close games this season.
“I batted a bit higher than where I was batting before. The other thing is the confidence. It is given by the coaching staff, captain and all the players. They believed I will be able to perform. That is the kind of energy you need as a player and that has been given to me,” he said.
He in fact practises a lot at the nets.
“There are more batting practice sessions for me, batting more than before and the belief that everyone has on me, that this guy can deliver and score some runs for the team, crucial runs.
“I always had that belief that I can score those 20-25 runs for the team at the end, if the team needs,” he added.
All praise for ‘Killer Miller’
Rashid also praised his team-mate David Miller, stating that he makes the job of the top-order easy.
“Having David, someone who’s in form in the middle, making scores, makes the job of top order easy. Numbers 4, 5 and 6 are important in T20 and once you have them in form, it does help to win games and doesn’t matter whatever the target is.
“They have scored without any fear, especially when you look at the game against CSK (Chennai Super Kings), the kind of innings David played, he showed his class,” Rashid signed off.