The KXIP side which has Chris Gayle at the top of the order along with KL Rahul began in their usual busy manner before Rashid Khan and Basil Thampi engineered what would be eventually a middle order collapse. After the loss of the two openers, the Punjab batsmen could manage only another 62 runs as they crumbled under pressure and succumbed to a 13-run defeat.
A rather disappointed KXIP captain R Ashwin was quoted by the Hindustan Times saying, “These things (batting collapse) happen in this kind of a tournament and Sunrisers Hyderabad’s bowling made the difference. We lost wickets throughout the middle (overs) and I thought we kept attacking a little too much and lost few wickets,” he said after the match.
For Ashwin’s side, the middle-order has been a problem and it was at the forefront once again. For the Punjab franchise, the main scoring batsmen so far have been Gayle, Rahul and Karun Nair. The rest together total a little over 100 runs in the season.
After the loss, Ashwin said he hoped that batsmen will pull up their socks and come good in due course of time.
“We do have finishers but they are not coming off. You won’t get all the puzzles solved at once. Hopefully, some of the people whom we have trusted will come good at the right time. That’s how you get going. They are quality players,” he said.
While the batting remains a worry for Punjab who are currently third on the table, one of the bright spots of the defeat to the Sunrisers Hyderabad was surely the bowling of Ankit Rajpoot. The pacer returned with figures of 5/14, which is the best by any uncapped player in the IPL and the second best by an Indian pacer.
“He has been bowling pretty well. He is tall, a bit nippy and can swing the ball around. I though he hit good length in the first six overs while the wicket held a bit. Not every day you get five wickets in T20. It was a good job,” Ashwin said.
First Published: April 27, 2018, 11:54 AM IST