Punjab Kings (PBKS) skipper was relieved to see his side take two points with a 5-wicket win over the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Friday in Dubai. The opener himself bagged the Man of the Match award for his 67-run knock where he anchored the chase of 166.
Earlier, Punjab bowlers had done well to restrict KKR to 165 after a blazing knock of 67 runs from 49 balls from Venkatesh Iyer. Arshdeep Singha picked a 3-wicket haul while Ravi Bishnoi continued to impress with 2/22.
“I’ll take the two points. We played it smartly. Realised it was a decent wicket and can’t experiment too much. Went slightly defensive with the ball. Wasn’t much spin. Wanted to make the batters hit to the bigger side,” KL Rahul said at the post-match presentation.
Punjab got off to a solid start as well with a 70-run opening stand between KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, who batted with freedom scoring 40 runs off 27 balls. KL Rahul stayed till the last over; he got out leaving only 4 from 4 balls, when Shahrukh Khan thumped a six to complete the chase. PBKS have won two and lost of their four games in the UAE leg and the skipper hopes the team will continue the momentum in the remaining games.
“With the bat also we’ve given clear roles to players. Obviously, [you]want to finish games. Weather’s not been too kind coming straight from England. Win will give us confidence and hopefully, we’ll build on it.
We all know Shahrukh can hit the ball a long way: KL Rahul
KL Rahul heaped praises for Shahrukh Khan, who was brought for 5.25 cr in the auction on the back of his domestic exploits. The right-hander smoked 2 sixes and a four to remain unbeaten at 22 off 9 balls.
“Shahrukh has been batting brilliantly in the nets. Saw how strong he is in the first phase. He’s asking a lot of questions and wanting to finish games. Today he played proper cricket shots, got a few boundaries and we all know he can hit the ball a long way. He can finish games, has done it for Tamil Nadu,” the PBKS skipper added.
PBKS are now in the mid-table tussle and remain alive in the race for a playoff berth. They missed it last season by a close margin. KL Rahul reckons his side’s much better outfit than at times they have shown this season.
“Often times we’ve put too much pressure on ourselves. Everybody knows we are a far better team. Putting too much pressure on ourselves is not helping. Message has been to give our best. Every game we’ve fought till the end,” Rahul concluded.
They are now placed fifth in the points table with 10 points in 12 matches. Punjab take on Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday afternoon in Sharjah.