KL Rahul-led Punjab Kings suffered their third consecutive defeat in IPL 2021 as SunRisers Hyderabad battered them by ten wickets. SunRisers Hyderabad arrested their three-match losing streak by getting their first victory this year by restricting Punjab to an achievable total of 121. KL Rahul, one of the batsmen to get a single-figure score, lamented the batsmen inability to convert their starts into significant scores that robbed them of 10-15 runs more to the total.
After choosing to bat first and making three changes, Punjab Kings’ innings hardly stabilised as none of the batting pair could stabilise it. Bhuvneshwar Kumar showed KL Rahul the way out, followed by Khaleel Ahmed dismissing Mayank Agarwal for 22 – the joint top-scorer for Punjab. Rashid Khan, Abhishek Sharma, and the SunRisers’ fielders continued to keep the leash on the opposition’s batting line-up.
Aside from Mayank Agarwal, Shahrukh Khan, who also made 22, was the only batsman to pass 20 as Punjab kept searching for momentum. But it was never to be found as SunRisers maintained the pressure and chipped away. Left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed emerged as the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4-0-24-3.
Jonny Bairstow and David Warner laid the foundation for a modest chase on a tricky Chennai track by stitching a 73-run stand. The captain was the first to go as he awarded debutant Fabian Allen a wicket, holing out to deep mid-wicket, with Mayank Agarwal taking a running catch. Kane Williamson headed out for his first IPL 2021 game and calmly steered the Orange Army alongside Bairstow, who made a fifty, to a nine-wicket victory to open their account this year finally.
A few batsmen got set and couldn’t get those 30s-40s that could get us through: KL Rahul
KL Rahul conceded that he was aware of the need to adapt to the conditions here and felt that Punjab were 10-15 runs short. The 28-year old lamented at a few batsmen’s inability to convert their starts to 30s or 40s. The opening batsman hopes that the team will learn from their mistakes in the upcoming game in Chennai. KL Rahul stated that it was tricky to set attacking fields in Chennai and wanted to attack after dismissing David Warner and Jonny Bairstow early. Having lost three out of four fixtures, the captain relishes at the opportunity of must-win matches moving forward.
“It was tough to adapt but we knew, having watched the games, what to expect. We tried to get used to the conditions as quickly as we could but we were 10-15 runs short. A few batsmen got set and couldn’t get those 30s-40s that could get us through. Hopefully we learn from this mistake, we have a game in a few days, hopefully we come and win. We knew that Jonny and David are their key batters, you know they’re going to come hard. It’s a little tricky to have attacking fields. Was hoping to get one of them and then attack, that was my thinking. Now looking back that could have been different. Every game from now is important for us and we’ve always been in that situation, where we get in a place where we have to win every game. Not a bad place to be, to be honest,” Rahul told in the post-match presentation.