Punjab Kings head coach Anil Kumble has praised Rajasthan Royals pacer for the way he bowled in the last over to defend four runs as Royals won the match by two runs. Kumble added that the strategy was to finish the game off in 19 overs and not to take the game in the last over which they lost.
Rajasthan Royals set the target of 186 for Punjab Kings after Punjab skipper KL Rahul won the toss and elected to bowl on Tuesday in Dubai. In reply, Punjab got off to a great start as the openers Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul stitched a partnership of 120 runs for the first wicket. They were cruising at one stage as they needed only four runs in the last over to win the game. Kartik Tyagi only conceded one run and took two wickets to win the game for Royals.
"It's sort of becoming a pattern for us especially when we get to Dubai, it seems," Kumble said. "The approach was clear, we needed to finish it in 19 overs. That was the approach, to not let it go till the end. But unfortunately, when you leave it to the last couple of balls, it becomes a lottery. Credit to [Kartik] Tyagi for the way he bowled."
With this loss, Punjab is on the seventh position in the points table. From now on, every game is a do-or-die for them as they have lost six games out of nine. The loss followed a somewhat similar pattern to their game against Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi last year. Back then, they lost despite needing just 22 off 18 balls with nine wickets in hand. On that occasion, they turned a cruise into complete wreckage by throwing their bats around and then being tested by Sunil Narine.
Kumble was unhappy with his batsmen not being able to read Tyagi’s plans towards the end.
"It was pretty clear he was going to bowl wide outside off, and somehow our batters didn't take the right options," he said. "We need to discuss this and sort it out. We have five more games to go, we don't want to get bogged down by this defeat but it's certainly a bitter pill to swallow," stated Kumble.
When asked about whether the Royals left them with too much to chase, the 50-year-old said that the bowlers did a good job on a good wicket. It was simply a case of batsmen not being able to cross the line.
"I think it was a very good wicket, and we really came back in the last four overs where we gave away just 20 runs and picked up six wickets or so. Arshdeep bowled brilliantly, as did Shami. [Harpreet] Brar bowled really well on a tough pitch. On a ground where one side of the boundary is short, at one stage Royals looked good to score 200-210. So to really squeeze them in the last four, I thought the bowling effort was really good.
"With the bat also, we showed it till the 17th over. We were cruising but we were pulled back in the 18th and 19th overs after [Aiden] Markram's six. As batters, they know what their scoring shots are. All it needed was a bit of hitting. Even if someone got out first ball, the next batter had five balls to get the runs. When it goes to the last couple of balls, it becomes hard. The messaging was clear. We had to finish it in 19 overs, unfortunately that didn't happen today," the 50-year-old concluded.