Sanju Samson implored his Rajasthan Royals team to keep believing despite having their hopes of advancing in the Indian Premier League all but extinguished by Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Glenn Maxwell hit a second successive half-century to hurry Bangalore to a seven-wicket win at the Dubai International Stadium, which leaves them third in the table on 14 points.
Rajasthan, for their part, are stuck on eight points. They are in second last place, and even three wins from their remaining three wins might not be enough to force their way in to the qualifier reckoning.
Samson, though, tried to remain sanguine after what he acknowledged had been a “tough week for the franchise”.
“To be very honest, we don’t have anything to lose now,” Samson, the Rajasthan captain, said.
“With that kind of a feeling comes a lot of freedom. We can go out and express ourselves a lot more, and that is what we need to do, I think.
“Anything can happen, and we need to keep on fighting and believing until the last match.”
Things had started so well for Rajasthan. During their batting powerplay, it appeared as though their openers were competing with each other to see who could hit the longest six.
Yashasvi Jaiswal launched one 96 metres, into the seats above the corporate boxes. So hard did he hit it, he apparently split the ball, and Glenn Maxwell, the bowler, asked for it to be changed.
Evin Lewis then hit one 90 metres, the first of three off the West Indian opener’s bat.
Even after they were parted, when Jaiswal went for 31 from 22 balls with the score on 77, Rajasthan continued to cruise.
The game entirely altered on the departure of Lewis, though. The left-hander top edged a catch to the wicketkeeper, giving English debutant George Garton his first IPL wicket, and the implosion started.
Batter after batter following each other and only succeeded in chipping up catches with soft shots.
Harshal Patel was the chief beneficiary of the loose batting, extending his lead at the top of the wicket-taker charts with three wickets. He even flirted with a second hat-trick in successive games, as he took two wickets in two balls.
Yuzvendra Chahal, meanwhile, continues to make a joke of his non-selection for next month’s T20 World Cup on these shores.
The Bangalore leg-spinner, who was outstanding when the IPL was transposed to the UAE in its entirety last season, took 2-18 from his four overs.
Chasing 150 was a breeze for Bangalore, and Maxwell chased them over the line with his 30-ball 50, which included taking Chris Morris for 22 in an over.
“I’ve felt good from the moment we came here, and it feels like it is really clicking for me at the moment,” Maxwell said.