Kings XI Punjab have been struggling to stitch successive wins but captain R Ashwin remains hopeful that the team can gain a bit of momentum as Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 heads towards the business end.
Kings XI retained the fourth spot on the eight-team IPL 2019 points table despite their five-wicket defeat to Delhi Capitals on Saturday at the Feroz Shah Kotla. R Ashwin’s men have 10 points from as many matches with five wins so far in the season. DC vs KXIP – Report | Match Highlights
Kings XI Punjab posted 163 for 7 on the board against Delhi Capitals, thanks to Chris Gayle 37-ball 69, which included six boundaries and five sixes. However, the visitors were not able to defend the total as Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer hit half-centuries to give Delhi a crucial win. The Capitals retained their third spot and now have six wins from 10 matches so far.
Ashwin pointed out that dew played its part in the result on Saturday and rued the lack of support to Gayle during their innings at the Feroz Shah Kotla, which offered better support to batsmen on Saturday, unlike the previous two matches where the home team were undone by the sluggish nature of the pitch.
Gayle kept losing partners at the other end as the likes of KL Rahul (12), Mayank Agarwal (2) and David Miller (7) failed to make any reasonable contribution to the score. Mandeep Singh struck a quickfire 30 and youngster Harpreet Brar 16 to help Kings XI Punjab go past the 160-run mark.
“I thought it was just below par because of the dew. It was quite hard to grip the ball for the spinners. We lost too many wickets in the middle despite Gayle playing a brilliant knock,” Ashwin said after Delhi’s win over Punjab.
“Credit to Shreyas. He held his nerve and batted through,” he added.
Stressing Kings XI Punjab can still remain in contention for the playoffs if they stitch a few wins together from hereon, Ashwin added: “We have played quite well in the 10 games, won a few and lost a few close games. This tournament is all about stringing wins together and we need to catch the momentum now.”
Kings XI Punjab will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad on the road before returning to Mohali for their final two matches of the league stage on May 3 and May 5.
R Ashwin also spoke about the impact of Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s absence in the team. The young leg-spinner injured himself while fielding during their previous IPL 2019 match on April 16.
“Someone like Mujeeb is a very important player for us. It happened last year as well, he got a soft tissue injury. It was quite disappointing from that angle. But having said we have enough talent to back him up but unfortunately we didn’t have enough runs on the board today,” Ashwin added.