Kings XI Punjab batsman Nicholas Pooran, who took his side over the line on Thursday with a last-ball six, revealed that, prior to the ball, he had no clue what to do and wished to never find himself in a similar situation again. Pooran further labelled Gayle the greatest T20 batsman of all time.
Having registered five wins on the bounce, Kings XI Punjab, on Thursday versus Royal Challengers Bangalore in Sharjah, looked like they were going to register their second win of the season in style, with overs to spare. Needing just 11 off the final three with nine wickets in hand, the match looked headed for an early finish but, remarkably, Punjab then almost pulled off the worst choke in IPL history. From 11 off 18, the equation suddenly, out of nowhere, came down to 1 needed off the final ball, with new batsman Nicholas Pooran taking strike.
Unlike the KKR clash, however, Pooran saved KXIP from embarrassment and walked down the track to smash a Chahal full toss for a six to take Punjab over the line.
The flamboyant southpaw, on the back of his ice-cold strike, was lauded for his immaculate tenacity but speaking post match to Mayank Agarwal, the 25-year-old revealed that he was in fact a nervous wreck. Pooran revealed that he was absolutely clueless with his thinking and wished to never find himself in such a situation ever again.
“Last over started and it was deja vu. Last 2 balls, 1 run needed - the Delhi game all over again. The difference was that there I was in the dugout and here, I was the person supposed to go in next. So I was like ‘What’s really happening here?’. Jordan said he can’t watch, so he went inside. Chris got out, I went into bat.
“Honest answer is that a million things were going through my mind. I wasn’t clear what I was going to do. I never want to find myself in that position again, to be honest. 11 fielders looked like 20 fielders. I wasn’t sure what to think; I wasn’t too clear. I was just happy that tonight was our night and we got the two points,” Pooran told Mayank Agarwal post match, in a video posted by IPLT20.com.
Pooran might have finished the job for KXIP, but the platform was laid by his idol and fellow countryman Chris Gayle, who struck a whirlwind half-century in his first appearance in IPL 2020. Pooran branded Gayle the “greatest T20 batsman of all time” and revealed that the 41-year-old’s presence changed the entire mood in the Punjab camp.
“To me Chris Gayle is the greatest T20 batsman who has played the game. When Chris is batting, you always think you have a chance of winning the game, so tonight we thought we had a chance to win the game. Once he’s there, there’s a different mood in the camp.
“We, as a batsman, would want someone like him in the middle. He started slowly, which is acceptable because he has played cricket in a long while. He has shown once more why he is the greatest T20 batsman. It’s wonderful to see him get runs.”
The win yesterday means that Punjab are still in the race to qualify for the play-offs. The franchise would, however, in all probability, need to win all their remaining matches to make it through to the next round.