Mayank Agarwal was given the captaincy of the Punjab Kings after regular skipper, KL Rahul was hospitalized with acute appendicitis. The Karnataka batsman shined brightly on his captaincy debut with the bat as he carried the side to a par total of 166/6 while losing partners at the other end.
However, Agarwal’s knock wasn’t sufficient to put a challenging total against an in-form Capitals batting line-up, who gunned down another target on the back of Prithvi Shaw’s rapid start, Shikhar Dhawan’s fifty, and Steve Smith handy innings.
He has been playing so well and he is a quality player: Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen, speaking about Agarwal’s mindset, pointed out that not only he is making his captaincy debut, and would be required to fill the big shoes of KL Rahul, but also he himself is coming off after an injury – Agarwal missed Punjab’s previous game against Bangalore – and hence would be under immense pressure.
“I think I said on commentary that captaincy can go one of two ways. You can either deal with it, that weight of expectations that clearly is just thrown straight amongst what you got to do for your team. It can create pressure, you start to worry about your players, your team,” Kevin Pietersen said while speaking with Star Sports.
“He also did not play the previous game and KL Rahul did so well so there has been so much pressure leading into this game. Yes, he has been playing so well and he is a quality player. But sometimes you do question yourself,” he added.
Despite that, Agarwal played a terrific knock against a strong bowling attack, single-handedly taking a team to a respectable total – which was ‘just breathtaking’ for Kevin Pietersen.
With their 5th loss in 8 games, the chances of Punjab making it into the playoffs have taken a nosedive. They will next face the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday.
“But I tell you what, he may have questioned himself before the game, but there is no more question to answer. When you go out and play an innings like he has just played here for all of us to see. It is just breathtaking,” the former England batsman concluded.