A clinical bowling performance followed by an assured chase resulted in a cagey six-wicket victory for King XI Punjab over the Sunrisers Hyderabad and their seventh straight triumph at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Monday.
It also saw the return of pacer Ankit Rajpoot, who returned to the starting XI since the team’s season-opener, and for good reason too.
“The pitch was a bit green and that assists the seamers,” he pointed out. “So the management felt I could make an impact in this game. I can get the ball to swing and that would work in these conditions.
“We played on a slow turner and a flat wicket, where a swing-bowler like myself would be rather ineffective. But today, the conditions were perfect for my skillset,” explained Rajpoot, who finished as the most economical bowler for KXIP on the day, giving away just 21 runs in his quota of four overs.
Despite not featuring regularly, Rajpoot has bowled with poise and confidence so far and credits captain Ravichandran Ashwin for keeping him relaxed and motivated.
“We have to get the combination right for each game (depending on the surface) which is why I had to sit out,” he said. “But I don’t feel any pressure heading into a game.
“The coaches have a lot of belief in me and the skipper also talks to me often and comes up to me and tells me that I'm doing quite well. So there is no pressure,” revealed the seamer.