A thumping performance by both openers, Lokesh Rahul and Chris Gayle, saw Kings XI Punjab cruise to an easy 9 wicket win against Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday. But this was not the first time the pair has worked wonders for their team this VIVO Indian Premier League season. They have enjoyed similarly impressive stands on most of the occasions they have played together. However, this time the pair managed to put on the highest opening partnership of the season so far.
“I think we are gelling well as a unit. We understand each other really well and you can see that,” said Mayank Agarwal at the post match press conference. “We go out there, set certain goals for ourselves and we’re achieving that.
“The opening stand is very important for any team. If you can get a 50-60 run stand and if you can do that consistently then it becomes great for the guys who are going to come in later. It also puts a lot of pressure on the opposition because you’re getting more than 50 in the first 6 overs.”
Chris Gayle in particular has been in scintillating form and became the man with the most sixes in the season during the game. His knock also saw him catapulting a number of other players and earning the Orange Cap.
Agarwal acknowledged Universe Boss Chris Gayle’s contribution the team’s cause but maintained that a cricket is a sport where the team is more important that an individual.
“Chris Gayle definitely brings in a lot of firepower but the other guys are also doing well. The bowlers are stepping in when needed. Lokesh Rahul has been batting really well. It’s a team game and everyone is playing their part. So you can’t say it is a one-man-show,” he said.
“Obviously Gayle’s form is going to add to the things which are already there. I think we are doing really well as a unit and we want to continue to do so.”
Captain Ravichandran Ashwin also pointed out that it was the bowlers' effort in the death overs that ensured that the KXIP batsmen didn't face a daunting task when chasing.
"We were bit under the pump when we were bowling. I thought we were looking at chasing about 210-220 while the par score is probably about 210," Ashwin said. "We had a time out in the 14th over and I told the boys that if we can pull it to 190, then we probably have done a favour to the batsman."