After defeating Kolkata Knight Riders by 5 wickets on Friday, winning captain KL Rahul has stated that the win will give the team confidence and his men will build on it in the upcoming matches. During the match, Rahul surpassed Shikhar Dhawan's run tally to become the new Orange Cap holder
The Punjab Kings (PBKS) won the toss and asked the Kolkata Knight Riders to bat first on Friday in Dubai. In-form Venkatesh Iyer and Rahul Tripathy partnered for a 72-run stand before Shubman Gill (7) fell to Arshdeep Singh early in the innings. Iyer stood solid at one end and scored 67 runs off 49 balls before his dismissal in the 15th over. Nitish Rana (31) played a cameo role and guided his team to 165/7. Arshdeep Singh was the pick of the bowlers as he scalped three wickets by conceding 32 runs. Ravi Bishnoi restricted the run flow in the middle overs and scalped two wickets by giving away just 22 runs.
In reply to KKR's 165, Mayank Agarwal (40) and KL Rahul stitched up a 70-run stand before the former departed in the 9th over. The PBKS captain scored his fifth fifty of the season by hitting a flat six off Tim Southee in the 15th over. Rahul with his 67 off 55 balls surpassed Shikhar Dhawan in the race for the Orange Cap. Shahrukh Khan (22* off 9 balls), who played his first game in the UAE leg smashed a six off the last over to claim his team's fifth victory in IPL 2021. KL Rahul was adjudged Man of the Match for his exuberant innings which has kept PBKS's hope alive in the tournament.
After a swashbuckling performance with the bat which resulted in his team's five-wicket victory, KL Rahul stated that the win against Kolkata will provide confidence to the team and the players will build on it in the upcoming matches. The PBKS captain hailed Sharukh Khan for his short cameo at the end of the innings and stated that the Tamil Nadu batsman played quality cricket against KRR.
"I'll take the two points (heaves a huge sigh). We played it smartly. Realised it was a decent wicket and can't experiment too much. Went slightly defensive with the ball. Wasn't much spin. Wanted to make the batters hit to the bigger side. With the bat also we've given clear roles to players. Obviously want to finish games. Weather's not been too kind coming straight from England. Win will give us confidence and hopefully we'll build on it. These are things that kill me as a captain. Don't want to leave out the Indian boys. With a heavy heart had to leave Harpreet out," Rahul said after the match.
"Had to see what would be our best XI with Chris leaving the bubble. Shahrukh has been batting brilliantly in the nets. Saw how strong he is in the first phase. He's asking a lot of questions and wanting to finish games. Today he played proper cricket shots, got a few boundaries and we all know he can hit the ball a long way. He can finish games, has done it for Tamil Nadu. Often times we've put too much pressure on ourselves. Everybody knows we are a far better team. Putting too much pressure on ourselves is not helping. Message has been to give our best. Every game we've fought till the end," he added.
With the win against KKR, the KL Rahul-led side have moved to fifth position, and the Punjab Kings will next face Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday, October 3.