Kings XI Punjab captain R Ashwin said he was hoping to see his team extend their winning run in Mohali in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019. The Punjab Cricket Association Stadium has become KXIP’s fortress as the home side has stitched a seven-match unbeaten run, which began way back in 2017.
Kings XI Punjab completed their third straight win at home on Monday when they clinched a six-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in a thrilling chase of 151.
Ashwin’s men had beaten Mumbai Indians in their first home game of IPL 2019 on March 30 and followed it up with a convincing win over Delhi Capitals on April 1 at the venue.
Thanking the crowd support over the last three matches in Mohali, KXIP captain Ashwin said: “The crowd has been splendid this year and it’s massive support for us. I would love it [winning streak] be 11 in a row.”
IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 8, 2019
Kings XI Punjab were cruising towards the 151-run target with KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal stitching a 114-run stand in just 84 balls for the second wicket on a dewy evening. The home side had lost Chris Gayle early but the two Karnataka batsmen made light work of the famed Sunrisers bowling attack.
However, fortunes reversed when Sandeep Sharma struck twice in the 18th over, removing Mayank Agarwal for 55 and big-hitting David Miller for 1. Siddharth Kaul then bowled a tidy 19th over, conceding just one and picking up a wicket. Three wickets in two overs meant King XI Punjab were required to gun down 11 in their last six balls.
KL Rahul though kept his nerves and hit Mohammad Nabi, who bowled the final over, for a boundary and helped Kings XI collect two points without further hiccups.
Captain Ashwin conceded that the match was “too close to comfort” but maintained that Kings XI Punjab are learning a lot from close finishes this season. In their last home match against the Delhi Capitals, Ashwin’s men came back from nowhere, picking up seven wickets for 8 runs to successfully defend a 166-run total.
“Too close for comfort, to be brutally honest. The biggest positive for me is there is scope for improvement and there is enough capability in the dressing room to do that.”
We bowled extremely well to David Warner: Ashwin
R Ashwin also lauded his bowlers for keeping big-hitting Sunrisers Hyderabad opener David Warner quiet on what seemed to be a sluggish wicket in the evening in Mohali.
Ashwin’s move to bring Mujeeb Ur Rahman into the attack as early as the second over worked wonders for Kings XI as the Afghanistan spinner removed in-form Jonny Bairstow for 1. KXIP bowlers were spot on as they never let Warner score freely.
Warner hit his slowest IPL fifty (49 balls) but remained unbeaten on 70 from 62 balls. Deepak Hooda smashed Mohammed Shami for 14 runs in the last over of Sunrisers’ innings to take them to 150 but it eventually didn’t prove enough.
“I think we bowled extremely well to Warner. It was always in our plans, Mujeeb knows Mohali very well and as a spinner you need to know the lengths and speeds to bowl at. Sometimes the figures don’t do justice, but I think Mujeeb bowled well today. You do use spinners with the new ball and Mujeeb has done it all his life for Afghanistan. And it was a good match-up between Bairstow and Mujeeb.”