Hyderabad: Kings XI Punjab continued their winning streak defeating table toppers Delhi Capitals by five wickets on Tuesday to keep their playoff hopes alive. Despite Shikhar Dhawan’s second successive century, first by a player in IPL, DC managed just 164/5 on the board which the KL Rahul-led side chased down with five wickets in hand.
Punjab had beaten Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians in their previous matches and these three wins gave them a lot of confidence, felt Rahul. “It feels good to defeat the top three teams. Delhi are at the top of the table because they are a good team. We are at that stage where we need to beat everyone. We will take one game at a time and we keep trusting ourselves. It does not matter whom we play as the team that plays well will always win on the day. We want to stay hungrier and keep getting better,” added the opener.
He also said that the middle-order finding form is a great sign for the team. “It is important that people who didn’t find form till now need to find form. Now the team is coming together. We could learn from our mistakes and go forward with more confidence. It (Maxwell coming into form) was very important for the team and for him as well. We need to back match-winners and he is a match-winner. His form is a very good sign. He was a bit nervous as well but he played a lot of cricket and knows what to do when in tough times.”
He also lauded his bowlers and Mohammed Shami who had another good day. “We all know what Shami can do. I think the difference this year is he showed more clarity and put his hand up and delivered whenever it was needed. The players representing the country should take responsibility and that gives a lot of confidence to youngsters as well. The ball is coming perfectly off his hand and hopefully he will get more wickets for us.”
Meanwhile, Capitals’ captain Shreyas Iyer said a loss like this was necessary for them going into the business end of the tournament. “We really had a great start to the tournament. It is important to get a loss like this as we can learn a lot. It is like a wake-up call for us. Going forward we will face tough situations. We need just one match to qualify for the playoffs and we will take one match at a time,” said the talented youngster.
He also lauded Dhawan on his second successive century. “I am really happy for the way he is playing. He is giving us a great platform. He accelerated after the first few overs. His mindset has been amazing throughout. The way he planned his innings was amazing.”
Speaking about the Tushar Deshpandey’s over where Chris Gayle hit the bowler for 26 runs, he said, “I don’t want to point at one person in the team. But the fifth over was the turning point. He (Tushar) is a very confident lad and does his homework. He was hit by a world class batter like Gayle. He will go back and analyse his mistakes. He will come back strongly.”
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