Punjab Kings’ skipper KL Rahul was a relieved man after his team snapped their 3-match winning streak in IPL 2021 beating five-time champions Mumbai Indians by nine wickets at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai on Friday.
After opting to bowl first, PBKS bowlers backed their skipper and kept MI at bay in the early going and eventually managed to restrict the powerful batting line-up of Mumbai to 131/6. Rahul then led from the front with a Player of the Match performance, remaining unbeaten on 60 off 52 balls. The win also helped PBKS notch up their second win of the tournament after enduring three straight losses.
“We don’t wanna get too ahead of ourselves, we’re slowly coming together as a team,” said Rahul during the post-match presentation. He went on to laud the newer players in the team who stepped up. PBKS handed young leggie Ravi Bishnoi his first game of the season and returned 2/21 from this four over. Mohammad Shami too got two wickets in his four overs while Deepak Hooda and Arshdeep claimed one wicket apiece.
“We add new names every year and we’ve to be patient. Hooda has been playing really well, Shahrukh’s taken his opportunities, and Bishnoi today. Ravi’s been working real hard with Anil bhai, there were a few things he had to correct, and he’s worked really hard and he’s held his composure against a solid batting line-up,” said Rahul.
On a tricky Chepauk track Mumbai failed to get going and never really recovered from a slow start that had them crawling to 26/2 in seven overs. Skipper Rohit Sharma held one end up and made 63 off 52, but fell in the 18th over, trying to accelerate. Hardik Pandya endured his fifth straight low score, managing just one while Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya too failed to have any substantial impact with the bat.
However, PBKS’ chase was in stark contrast to MI’s struggling innings with Rahul and opener Mayank Agarwal racing to 53 by the 8th over. Agarwal fell to Rahul Chahar for 25, but Chris Gayle and Rahul then added 79 runs for the second wicket to steer their team home.
“Me and coach did have a long chat about batting second, I felt that the wicket was sticky and the first few games we’ve batted and felt that the bowlers were always under pressure. I felt it was important that bowlers get to bowl in those conditions and we heard that there was a lot of dew. So I felt like it can ease up and come on better – that didn’t happen, but we knew what to chase and that helped. The dry ball did play a big part, it just started ripping. When that happens it gets real hard to even get singles. But it was good of Chris, he figured out who to target, that’s the benefit of having someone like him,” added Rahul.