By Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin,
I am really happy with the way the team stepped up their game and delivered in just our second away game of the season. Kolkata Knight Riders have been in excellent touch and to be able to overcome them at Eden Gardens was really special for me and the team.
Both our openers have been firing on all cylinders, which is excellent news for us going forward. KL Rahul has been batting like a million dollars and he has the capability to get the team off to a flyer which is exactly what the team needs from him. Talking about Chris Gayle, I have really run out of words to describe the way he plays. You cannot make a plan for someone like him. When he is stroking the ball well he is one of the most beautiful batsmen to watch in world cricket.
.@henrygayle caused a thunderstorm at the Eden Gardens with that shot! Catch the highlights of #KKRvKXIP as @lionsdenkxip went 🔝of the table with their win: https://t.co/ruLpgUMHel #DestinationForCricket #VIVOIPL pic.twitter.com/iO5XE1K5Z7— Hotstar Canada (@hotstarcanada) 21 April 2018
We have embraced the idea of going hard at the bowling early on in the innings. We are a team that wants to win the Powerplays with both bat and ball. If we can do that then I believe half the game is already won.
However, I also want to take some time to acknowledge the great work our bowlers have been doing for us in all the games so far. Even in times when we were in a position where the game could easily have run away from us, someone or the other has always stepped up to the plate and made sure we were in the hunt. I am very proud of the bowlers for that.
I thought we were a bit under the pump against Kolkata on a flat wicket. Anything around 210 is probably the par score on that wicket. But even after KKR’s initial assault, I think our bowlers did really well to stem the flow of runs and force errors, eventually restricting them to under 200.
We knew we had an excellent batting line up, full of players who were in red hot form. But when we took a time out I told my bowlers that if we manage to restrict the opposition to around 190 then we will have done a huge favour to our batsmen. They will be able to play without additional pressure and in the form they have been in, that would make them even more deadly. I am grateful to be leading such a talented side where the bowlers deliver exactly what their captain asks of them. I have enjoying my time as captain so far and the quality of players we have had a huge part to play in that.
Ravichandran Kumble!— Nikhil 🏏 (@CricCrazyNIKS) 8 April 2018
Leg up with leg spin
There has been a lot of talk around about me adding the leg-spinners to my arsenal. For me, it is all about being the best player you can be and leg spin adds variety to the range, especially at crucial junctures in a fast paced game like T20 cricket. I am a person who believes in constantly evolving and reinventing myself. If it comes off it might become a trend but if it doesn’t then people will obviously criticise my decision. I am ready for both the outcomes. You have to keep pushing your game to the edge if you want to get any advantage in a big league such as the IPL.
As we move to Delhi now, I can’t hope for anything more than more of the same from my team. We are coming together beautifully as a unit and hopefully we will continue to entertain with our brand of cricket.