Kolkata: It will be quite a demanding task for newcomers Gujarat Titans to play the final against Rajasthan Royals in front of nearly 100,000 strong home crowd at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday, but their star leg spinner Rashid Khan does not want to be weighed down by any undue pressure.
The 23-year-old, who has delivered as an allrounder in what had been a fairytale campaign for the Titans so far, feels they will try to stick to their template of keeping things simple and not worry about the results. ‘‘I have just learnt from you people that except CSK, no other team has won a title in front of their home crowd. We don’t want to think about such things and would like to go out in a positive frame of mind and express ourselves - then see what happens,’’ said the Afghan leg spinner, who is in the ninth spot in the race for Purple Cap with 18 wickets and an excellent economy rate of 6.73.
Speaking in a virtual interaction with a group of mediapersons ahead of their final, Rashid hoped he would be able to emulate his performance of Qualifier 1 against the same rivals when he was the most economical bowler for them with just 15 runs off his four overs on a Eden surface with hardly any grip. ‘‘We will go into the match with the same energy. my aim will be to keep things tight and bowl in the right areas. I have done well in terms of economy rate, so I want to build up the pressure again so that someone else can take the wickets,’’ said Rashid, who was nominated the ICC T20 Player of the Decade last December.
Echoing similar thoughts about what was they key factor behind Titans’ run, both Rashid and their master finisher David Miller concurred that it was the team management’s belief in continuity and assignment of specific roles to the players which worked a great deal for them.
‘‘Looking back at the 15 matches, there have been so many good performances. We were not depending on any individual to score 80 for 90 runs or take four-five wickets but it was the contribution of all 11 players. The opposition could actually never plan against us,’’ Rashid said with a smile.
Unlike Royals, Titans will be up for the big game for the first time on this wicket. ‘‘We practised a few sessions at this stadium when we assembled before the season, but a match situation will be different. We will watch the game tonight (Qualifier 2) and make an assessment. However, we had no idea about the Mumbai wickets as well but got used to it,’’ he said.
A big plus from Rashid this season had been his batting where he came higher at number seven and chipped in with a number of brilliant cameos. His trademark ‘snake shot,’ where he whipped the fuller ball by arching himself back when he was cramped for room for flat sixes a number of times had become quite a talking point.
‘‘The reason behind the success is that the coaching staff gave me a lot of confidence and I have been batting more at the nets this season. When someone believes that you can perform and can contribute with those 20-25 runs, it can make a difference.
Asked if he could unleash a few snake shots in the final, Rashid said: ‘‘Everyone wants me to play it but you can do it only when you get it in the slot - and hopefully, it can clear the bigger ground here. However, I hope I don’t have to bat and our top batters will finish the job.’’