KL Rahul’s Kings XI Punjab stunned SunRisers Hyderabad in a low-scoring thriller in Dubai as they managed to defend 126 in 20 overs. It gave Kings XI Punjab their fourth consecutive victory as it helped them boost their playoff chances by a mile now. Skipper KL Rahul underlined that the team has been working quite hard and are now able to see the results coming their way.
Orange Cap holder KL Rahul could not make an impact for Kings XI Punjab as he fell for a run-a-ball 27 to Rashid Khan. The entire Kings XI Punjab batting line-up could not get going as SRH bowlers had strangled them to keep the runs down. The likes of Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, and Deepak Hooda, who are clean strikers of the ball, could not get underneath their deliveries to keep the boundaries coming. Pooran top-scored with 32 with Rashid Khan being the pick of the bowlers.
Despite a breezy start from David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, putting 56 for the first wicket, SunRisers Hyderabad could not capitalize on the same. Manish Pandey and Vijay Shankar, who led the way against Rajasthan Royals, struggled to keep up with the required run rate. The wicket of Manish Pandey was the turning point as KXIP kept turning the screws and bowled out KXIP for 114 eventually.
“Honestly, I’m speechless” : KL Rahul
KL Rahul, the Kings XI Punjab captain, was left gasping for breath after an impressive performance by the bowlers. The right-handed batsman underlined that the 10-15 runs prove precious in low-scoring thrillers and credited every player for chipping in some way. The 28-year old mentioned that even when the team was at the bottom of the table, they did not panic and kept working hard. He was all praises for left-arm seamer Arshdeep Singh, having bowled well under pressure, which will give him plenty of confidence.
“We are making it a habit. Winning is a habit, which we didn’t find in the first half. Honestly, I’m speechless. Everybody’s chipped in. Low-scoring games is when you realise the importance of those 10-15 runs scored by batsmen, those diving stops and those tight overs. The work done is always behind the scenes. Not just the players but the support team. You can’t change a lot in tow months but all these guys have pushed the boys to be better and better. Even when we were sitting on the bottom of the table we didn’t panic.
We kept scrapping and we’re really happy that the wins are coming. I think after me and Mandeep played the first over itself we knew it wasn’t going to e a high-scoring pitch. We were thinking 160-170. The openers have the freedom to score and I think that’s what happened with SRH as well. I was hoping we didn’t give anything above 40 in the first six, so I was positive and the team was positive. [Arshdeep] the work’s done behind the scene. Me and the coaching team, before the tournament began, discussed what are the things we’d need for the bowlers. Arsh, the way he’s bowled in pressure situations will give him a lot of confidence,” Rahul told in the post-match presentation.