‘I have no answers,’ KL Rahul, Kings XI Punjab skipper said after his side suffered a stunning loss against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Chasing 165 runs to win, Punjab rode on fine half-centuries from Rahul and Mayank Agarwal before pressing the panic button to lose the match by two runs.
Requiring 14 from 6 deliveries, Punjab had an out-of-form Glenn Maxwell in the middle and the Australian was foxed by Sunil Narine, who first removed the dangerous Nicholas Pooran and then dismissed Mandeep Singh to bring Kolkata back into the match.
With six required off the final delivery to drag the match into a Super Over, Maxwell tried to heave Narine over the cover boundary but the ball fell just inches short of the boundary.
“I have no answers. We just need to keep coming harder in the next seven games. We bowled really well. This was a fresh strip so we didn’t know what were good lines and lengths. And the bowlers adjusted really well. And they were brave at the death too,” Rahul said.
The Punjab skipper further said that losing wickets at the back end of the chase hurt his team.
“Don’t think we were satisfied at any stage in the chase. You are satisfied only when you win the game. Towards the end, we kept losing wickets, and couldn’t get us over the line,” he added.
Winning skipper Dinesh Karthik credited Sunil Narine for his match-winning contribution with the ball and also praised young bowler Prasidh Krishna, who took a three-wicket haul, including the prized scalp of Rahul.
Karthik was also adjudged the Player of the Match for his quickfire 29-ball 58 that helped Kolkata post a challenging total on a surface where strokeplay was difficult.
“The way Rahul and Mayank batted, we thought we needed to so something really special to come back into the game. With Sunny and Varun there, and Prasidh bowling the way he has done in his first game… McCullum has been encouraging me to bat higher in the order, but I am looking at what the team needs. I have to give him credit for keeping me in this space,” Karthik said.
Kolkata suffered a major blow when star all-rounder Andre Russell limped off the field after crashing into the advertising board while saving a boundary. And the KKR skipper said the management will look after the West Indian.
“Whenever Russell gets injured, you know it is hard. He is a very special player, he is a very special person. We need to go and look at him. Prasidh is special. The way he came back and bowled in the second spell shows how good he is,” Karthik said.
“Sunil Narine stands up for us a lot of time. He is calm. He is always looking to find the best way to contribute to the team. Not only Sunil, but a lot of credit also needs to be given to Morgan and McCullum. I am very lucky to have the world’s best captain by results in my side.”
Narine on his part said that he doesn’t like bowling at the death but would do for the team’s cause.
“When the last ball went up in the air, I thought I was going to bowl full and wide, I bowled full and wide, but then I thought I had made a mistake. It is not ideal for me to bowling at the death but someone has to do that. I am used to doing it in the past. Inside the pulse is racing, but this calm is just how I am,” he said.