Kings XI Punjab captain R Ashwin said it was not easy to assess the conditions in Chepauk and plan their chase of 161 well during their 22-run defeat to Chennai Super Kings on Saturday. Ashwin said that he has always maintained that breaching Chennai Super Kings’ fortress in Chepauk has been difficult for visiting teams and that Kings XI Punjab were at the receiving end in the first match of the double-header. | CSK vs KXIP – Match report |
R Ashwin faced his former Indian Premier League (IPL) club in Chennai for the first time since being appointed Kings XI Punjab captain last year. However, his homecoming ended in defeat for KXIP, who stumbled in a chase of 161 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
R Ashwin had bowled brilliantly and led from the front. He picked 3 for 23 off his 4 overs and removed Faf du Plessis and Suresh Raina off successive deliveries before MS Dhoni’s late assault took Chennai Super Kings to a commanding total on a tricky pitch. Not everything fell in place for CSK – for instance, Andrew Tye went for plenty – he gave away 38 runs in his four overs.
KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan hit fifties and shared 110 for the third wicket but could not see KXIP through. In fact, Rahul and Sarfaraz managed only 24 runs in a 5-over period when they were well set.
But Ashwin was happy his batsmen pulled the team out of choppy waters. KXIP had been reduced to 7 for 2 after the first two overs when Harbhajan Singh dismissed Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal in his first over of the match.
“We are always going to be talking about a lot of hindsight things when the game’s over. I thought they (Sarfaraz and KL) were confident about getting the job done. In modern day T20s, 10s to get off the last six (10 runs per over) is not difficult, more often than not you get them,” Ashwin told the broadcasters after the match.
“But look, we have also been on the other side of it. We have bowled and defended 10 runs. So these things can happen in the IPL. It’s very important to regroup. I personally think we have been percentage cricket than ever.”
“It’s very hard ground to come and break the fortress of CSK. I have been saying this for years. That’s why I said we had the game under control for a very long time. We were in the chase. KL Rahul and Sarfaraz did well but it’s just that we couldn’t get the job done today. I am sure the boys will get better,” he said.
“For major part of the game, we had the game under control. I thought we just miscalculated the chase a little bit towards the end. The credit though has to be given to the batters that dug us out from 7 for 2. We did really well to get ourselves close to the total. We didn’t really close it down. There was a miscalculation there,” Ashwin said.
Ashwin also defended the team selection and said both Tye and Sam Curran bring a lot to the attack.
“I mean we’ve got only so many options that we can play with. I thought our seamers would also be suited for the wicket. AJ is someone who can vary his pace well, Sam is creating another angle. The selection was not much of an issue at all,” he said.