Kings XI Punjab have shown that they belong with the high flyers of the Indian Premier League 2020 after securing victory in their last three matches of the season. After losing six out of seven matches, KXIP have managed to bounce back and now are in contention for a top-four finish. The feat becomes even more impressive as KXIP have beaten the top three teams in the points table (Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore) in successive matches.
They looked in good knick on Tuesday as they overcame table-toppers Delhi Capitals by five wickets at the Dubai International. Even though KXIP are on a winning run, skipper KL Rahul has pointed out an area they still need to improve. Although Rahul was relieved to see his team finally get over the line comfortably but said the top-four batsmen must consistently close out games in the remainder of their IPL campaign.
“My heart keeps reaching new limits every game but yeah it is nice to finish it in the 19th over for once. I did wonder, I won’t lie, especially when you are playing with six batsmen and an all-rounder,” Rahul said at the post-match presentation.
“It is something every team talks about: the set batsman has to finish off the game. One of the top four does that. We have to correct that,” he added.
KXIP have often struggled to finish games from comfortable positions in this IPL.For a change, it was a straightforward chase for KXIP against Delhi Capitals on Tuesday despite a rare failure from their opening pair of K L Rahul (15) and Mayank Agarwal (5).
Nicholas Pooran (53 off 28) came up with another blinder of a knock and Glenn Maxwell (32 off 24) finally found some form to set up their five-wicket win over Delhi Capitals.
KXIP’s bowling unit pulled things back in the death overs to restrict DC to a below-par 164 for five.
Under-fire Glenn Maxwell played a crucial 24-ball 32 and took a wicket. Rahul said it was important to back the Australian.
“Glenn is a great team man. He has been batting well in the nets. It was important to back him. It was good to see him get time in the middle. Hopefully, he carries this good work into the coming games,” he said.
In their last match, KXIP had beaten Mumbai Indians via a second Super Over and Rahul said he “didn’t sleep a whole lot” after that game on Sunday night.
“Took a long time to sink in. Kept thinking all night how we could have closed it off before the Super Over. But it keeps us humble, the game is bigger than any of us.”Shikhar Dhawan (106), who was awarded the Man of the Match for his historic back-to-back hundred, said he took the onus on himself to do bulk of the scoring after not getting support from the other end.