Superb win for Punjab Kings. It’s a happy dugout and why wouldn’t they be! A clinical win against the defending champions after suffering a 9-wicket loss at the hands of SRH a couple of days back here at the same venue. Chasing a modest total, Mayank and KL Rahul got their team off to an excellent start scoring 45 in the powerplay as opposed to MI’s 21/1 (lowest this season). Mumbai pulled things back post that – courtesy Rahul Chahar and Jayant Yadav whose combined bowling figures read 8-0-39-1. With 31 needed off 34 deliveries, Punjab were firmly ahead, however there was a mini-comeback as there were six dot balls. But any hope of a Mumbai miracle was extinguished by the duo of KL and Gayle who stitched an unbeaten 79-run stand and took their team over the line with 14 balls to spare
Earlier in the day, KL Rahul’s decision to opt to field at Chepauk did raise a few eyebrows, however his bowlers superbly backed that move by setting up the win. First seven overs: 26 runs | 2 wickets; last four overs: 26 runs | 4 wickets. In between, the nine-over period saw Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav adding close to 80 runs which ensured a respectable total, but nowhere sufficient even on this slow, turning pitch.
Rohit Sharma | Losing captain: Not enough runs. I still feel it is not a bad wicket to bat on. You saw how Punjab Kings batted and won the game with 9 wickets in hand. It is just the application which is missing in our batting. If you get 150-160 on this wicket then you are always in the game, that is something we failed to do in the last two games. You can look at it either way, I thought their bowlers bowled well in the powerplay, Ishan was trying to hit but couldn’t get it and even I was not able to hit. We have batted well in the powerplay previously but today we failed to do so. Something is missing in our batting line-up, we are not able to bat 20 overs in the fashion we want and something that we have to look at and see what we can do. It was just a tactical thing, we wanted someone who would bat well against the spinners in the middle and SKY was the one to do that. But when you play on such a challenging pitch then you have to be ready for all the possibilities. When you try, if it works it looks good and if it doesn’t work then it looks bad, but we always back the decision we make. We are not putting enough effort on the field and when the conditions are tough you need to understand how you need to bat and how you need to bowl.
KL Rahul | Man of the Match and Winning captain: We don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves. Slowly we are coming together as a team. We are still a young team. Every year we keep bringing in newer guys. It’s important to be patient. The guys we have backed and given opportunities are slowly coming through. Hooda has been playing really well, Shahrukh got an opportunity and he’s been batting really well, Bishnoi came in this game and the way he bowled was brilliant. Fingers crossed, hopefully we can keep climbing and keep getting two points every game. Main coach did have a little bit of a long chat about batting second. I felt that the wicket was sticky. I felt that the bowlers always were under pressure, it was important that they bowled on a wicket like this early. We had heard that there was a lot of dew here. I felt like that could play a part. The drier ball started to grip, when it turns and bounces like that, it gets really hard. It was good of Chris that he got through that period. He was always confident that he could make it up. He knew whom to target. That’s what you get with Chris, not just destructive batting but also experience of so many years playing T20 cricket. I am sure it gives him (Bishnoi) a lot of confidence. He unfortunately missed the first few games, he’s been working really hard with Anil bhai. There were a few things he needed to correct and he’s been somebody who’s brave, that’s very good to see. He held his composure and bowled really well. When I know what target I am chasing, it gets slightly easier to pace the innings. Really happy with the way I finished the game and that’s the most important thing.