Hyderabad: Kings XI Punjab’s journey in the IPL came to a bitter end after suffering a nine-wicket loss against Chennai Super Kings. Captain KL Rahul was disappointed at their batting failure in the must-win game.
Mayank Aragwal and Rahul started brilliantly adding 48 runs in 5.2 overs. However, they lost wickets in the middle to settle for a modest 153/6. If not for Deepak Hooda’s unbeaten 62, they would have settled for a low total.
Speaking after the loss, Rahul said, “It (the loss) does hurt. We have done really well to give us a chance to qualify. There is a lot to be proud of. It hurts for a little while but we need to take the learnings and come back stronger next year. We could not get partnerships going. Mayank and myself got a good start. We should have capitalised and scored big to put 190 on the board would have been ideal. Deepak (Hooda) gave us a fighting chance. In a match like this, a big total would have been ideal to defend. We didn’t soak up the pressure. We needed one of the top four to go and get a big 70 or 80.”
On going with an extra batter, he said, “We needed to win this game and that too was by a decent margin. So we went batting heavy to get a big score. But it didn’t work out.” He praised Hooda’s innings and lauded youngsters Arshdeep Singh and Ravi Bishnoi calling them the talent for the future. “Deepak batted really well. He gave us a chance. The youngsters, they have been putting in a lot of work. It is important for them to get good games to feel confident. They came here and played against tough teams. They handled the pressure well and it is a great sign for us and for Indian cricket as well. We keep an eye on them and work with them for the future,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, CSK coach Stephen Fleming said they struggled with finding the right balance in the initial part of the tournament that cost them dearly. “We had a few setbacks early on with Covid and a few players leaving. We struggled to find the right combination in their absence. We did well in the first game but got exposed in the next games. It was frustrating. But we stuck to the team and we are proud to get three wins on the trot. With no pressure, we played with freedom,” he said.
He also lauded Ruturaj Gaikwad who slammed his third straight fifty. “Yes, he is a big story. He was outstanding in the preseason as well. But he had to wait because of Covid. We are pleased for him. He is a big candidate for us going forward.”