Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson attributed his team's maiden win against defending champions Gujarat Titans to its strategy to rotate the bowlers, which helped the 2008 IPL champions to restrict Hardik Pandya's side to 177 in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
After keeping the Titans to a manageable total, the Royals, despite getting a poor start and huge reverses in the Powerplay, were able to eke out a memorable three-wicket victory at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
This is the Royals' first win against the Titans as they had lost all three matches in IPL 2022, including the final.
"I am very happy to be on the winning side. I think it was very important to rotate the bowlers. They were going hard at our spinners. After the timeout, they were playing some quality cricket shots and we needed to respect that but I am very proud of our team for restricting them to a 170-odd score," said Samson.
The Royals' slow bowlers Adam Zampa and Ravichandran Ashwin came in for some harsh treatment from Shubman Gill and Hardik Pandya in the seventh and eighth overs and timely rotation of bowlers -- bringing in Trent Boult and Yuzvendra Chahal -- curtailed the flow of runs.
The skipper was all praise for West Indian Shimron Hetmyer whose unbeaten 26-ball 56 proved to be a match-winning innings.
"I don't think he likes easy situations. We don't mind putting him in these situations," said Samson.
'Player of the Match' Hetmyer himself indicated he bore a grudge against the Titans who had beaten his side three times last IPL season.
"I just really wanted to win against these guys because they beat us three times last year so it was a bit of revenge really. I just practice it really. It helps to practice with that mindset that you are a couple of wicket down and you need 100 runs with eight overs left.
"You just try to program your mind that way and so far it's working. I was pretty happy to be honest to be facing (a spinner for the final over). I was just focused on getting a double off the first ball and then see what happens after that," he added.
Titans skipper Hardik Pandya conceded his team should have put some more runs on the board.
"A lot of matches left. We still need to play a lot of good cricket even if we had won today. I felt we were short some runs at the innings break. They bowled some good overs but we should have gone harder to put the game (out of their reach) and get a 200 total. When I was watching outside, I did feel we were maybe 10 runs short," he added.