Barring Lokesh Rahul’s measured innings, Kings XI Punjab’s batting against Rajasthan Royals in their VIVO Indian Premier League meet at Jaipur’s Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Tuesday just didn’t click enough, according to head coach Brad Hodge.
Playing Rajasthan for the second time in three days, KXIP restricted the home side to 158/8, but failed to chase it down and lost by 15 runs, the margin reduced considerably after Rahul’s Salvo in the final two overs.
“I think whatever RR scored was par for the surface. This was always going to be a tough wicket,” Hodge said in the post-match press conference. “We just had far too many dot balls from our batsmen.
“We never got the momentum going, and we lost some early wickets. We needed to maximise our Powerplay, but at the end of it, we were still 20 short of where we needed to be.”
On the positive side, Rahul made merry once again with an unbeaten 95, his best score in the IPL eclipsing the 84* he scored in the preceding match. With the recent run, 26-year-old is now perched at the top of the Orange Cap list.
“We know that KL is in dynamite form, and if Chris (Gayle) fires then anything can happen. But we have some extremely talented players and we probably just need them to contribute a bit more than what they are currently doing,” Hodge stated. “Apart from Rahul, nobody actually got going today, so it’s frustrating, but credit to RR for playing quite well and defending that total.”
Continuing on the positives, the former Australian all-rounder also spoke fondly of the bowling attack that has been delivering the goods on a regular basis throughout the entirety of the season. Andrew Tye was the pick of the lot last night, when he delivered a season-best 4/34 under difficult circumstances.
“I think the bowlers did well to drag things back today,” he pointed out. “We are comfortable chasing anything less than 160 most times, but just hoped that our batting unit would have performed a bit better on the day.
“Our bowling unit for the whole tournament has been outstanding, and that’s probably the one area that is contributing well.”
Although the KXIP middle order has been inconsistent, captain Ravichandran Ashwin remains optimistic for the rest of the league.
“We do have limitations, but we're trying to counter it with different combinations,” the skipper explained. “Hopefully, it'll all settle through. Not worried, six wins in ten games, we'll take it."