After a week’s rest Kings XI Punjab moved to Indore for the remainder of their home matches, and Mumbai Indians was the first visitor at the Holkar Cricket Stadium. Put in to bat first, KXIP fell a handful of runs short on a small ground and succumbed to MI’s finishing capabilities in the end.
It is never an easy challenge to move from an expansive ground like Mohali to a more compact one at Indore, but KXIP was always in with a chance till the fag end of the Mumbai innings when Rohit Sharma and Krunal Pandya accelerated.
Head coach of KXIP, Brad Hodge was of a similar opinion. “We have gone from a big ground in Mohali to a smaller ground in Indore, but we feel that we have the team needed to adapt to all conditions. I think the leadership that (Ravichandran) Ashwin has shown on the ground has been amazing,” he said in a field-side interview.
Speaking of Ravichandran Ashwin, the KXIP captain was honest in his assessment of the match as he spoke about the things that went wrong.
“The wicket was a bit sticky. We thought 180+ would be a good score, but we lost some wickets in the middle overs. Maybe we did not get enough runs at the end, and we might have been shorter had (Marcus) Stoinis not gotten runs in the end to take us to 174,” admitted Ashwin.
But the batting only comprises half the match, and the bowlers had a job to do as well, of defending a chaseable target under difficult circumstances.
“We bowled well and were always in the game. Such things happen in T20, and this was a very tough ground to defend a target on. In fact, up till the 15th over, it seemed like we had a good chance of winning. In the end, we missed our length by a bit, and Krunal and Rohit took full advantage of that. There are not a lot of games that you can win when Rohit stays till the final over,” Ashwin reflected, while heaping praise on his counterpart.
Rohit Sharma has remained not out 17 times when chasing in IPL and his teams have won every time - 4 times for Deccan Chargers and 13 times for Mumbai Indians. #KXIPvMI— Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) May 4, 2018
But not all is lost for KXIP, who still have six matches under their belt from which they need to win just three to qualify for the Playoffs.
“This tournament is never easy. If we continue to play the fearful cricket that we have been playing, we will be fine. We haven’t been firing in the middle order, but we expect the players to do well in the coming games. After the auctions, we also knew that we aren’t the best fielding side, but everyone is putting in the hard work in training, and that is all we can ask for,” Ashwin concluded.
Kings XI Punjab play their next match on Sunday, May 6, when they will host Rajasthan Royals at Indore.