In the 17th over of the first innings in the game between Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab on Wednesday, Mohammed Shami got the dangerous Andre Russell bowled. But that decision was annulled as the umpires called no ball for a fielding miscalculation on the part of the visitors.
KXIP had only three fielders inside the 30-yard circle; and were therefore in breach of the rules which state that a maximum of five fielders can be outside the inner circle in the non-powerplay overs.
That cost the away team dearly, as Russell went on to score a quickfire 48 off just 17 balls which pushed the first innings score beyond 210, and ultimately proved a mountain too high for the Kings XI batsmen.
"We weren't really focused on the same things and these small mistakes do cost you big at this format," Aswhin observed. "We definitely have to look at it and probably be a little more attentive from the next match."
The spinner also claimed complete responsibility for the incident as captain, shielding the blame away from his teammate who was stationed at fine leg instead of coming in short.
"I'll take the blame for myself because I should have had a look at it," he said at the post-match presentation. "At that stage of the game, you expect the fielders to keep turning in when the slog is on; but obviously he is only a debutant and will surely get better with time."
Although mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy had a debut to forget, giving away 35 runs in his three overs, captain Ashwin was all praise for the IPL rookie while also playing up the performance of batsman Mayank Agarwal.
“The way Varun bowled that 15th over to Nitish Rana and Robin (Uthappa) was a massive positive; and also Mayank (Agarwal) batted really well despite us losing wickets at regular intervals.”
The Kings XI Punjab captain managed to nonchalantly divert the pressure and criticism away from his teammates, showing his leadership calibre by accepting the mistake which ultimately proved costly for the visitors. Ashwin would now be hoping his leadership and kind words would seamlessly blend into the rest of his teammates, as they head into a run of three consecutive home matches at the IS Bindra stadium- a venue where they were unbeaten last season.