Kings XI Punjab skipper KL Rahul, who was named Man of the Match for his exquisite 77 versus MI, revealed that it was important that Punjab exploited the powerplay and added that Gayle coming into the side has given him freedom. Rahul also noted that the two points were invaluable to the side.
With his strike rate having come under fire, KL Rahul showcased signs of his 2018-self in the powerplay versus Mumbai in Dubai on Sunday. Chasing a daunting 177, KXIP needed to get off to a quick start and that, surprisingly, came from the bat of Rahul, who raced off to 32* off 17 inside the first six overs. The KXIP skipper eventually went on to score 77 and while that did not really seal the deal for Punjab, help from his teammates meant that the 2014 finalists got the job done via a second Super Over.
Speaking in the post-match presentation, Rahul, who walked away with yet another Man of the Match award, revealed that it was a clear plan to exploit the powerplay and added that Chris Gayle coming into the team has given him the freedom to express himself a tad more.
“After wicket-keeping for 20 overs, batting in the first six is very crucial. We knew it would get slower with their decent spinners, so Mayank and I got a good start over 50 runs. When Chris plays against spinners, I trust them to take down the spinners. Chris coming in helps, he is an experienced player and knows how to carry the team through,” Rahul said in the post-match presentation.
KXIP needed not one, but two Super Overs to get over the line and the heroes on the night for the side were Mohammad Shami and Chris Jordan, who conceded just 5 and 11 runs respectively in the overs they bowled. Rahul revealed that there was no prior planning and that the bowlers just trusted their gut.
“You can't prepare for Super Overs, no team prepares for Super Overs. You have to trust your bowling group and it is important you let them believe their instinct and gut. Shami was certain he wanted to go for six yorkers and he has been phenomenal for us. It is important senior guys put their hands up for us,” said the KXIP skipper.
The victory means that KXIP are now sixth, right back in contention for a playoff spot. Rahul insisted that the team will take one game at a time, but also emphasized on the importance of enjoying the game, rather than just focusing on wins.
“We still want to take it one game at a time and when you haven't won a lot in the first seven, every victory is sweet. The talk in the dressing room is to focus on the process and stay calm. That is the kind of mood we want to set and everybody is professional and competitive and they want to win games. We know we need to win everything from here, but not at the cost of processes, we need to enjoy ourselves here.”