After Punjab Kings (PBKS) defended 17 runs to win a last-ball thriller against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Saturday in Sharjah, KL Rahul said that 'his team will take the win'. Notably, Punjab had lost their last match against Rajasthan Royals (RR) after failing to score 4 runs in the last over.
After Punjab Kings' (PBKS) 5-run win, a thrilled KL Rahul reckoned that Punjab, who had been part of numerous nail-biting encounters in the past, often ending up on the losing end, would not mind winning the Sharjah thriller.
KL Rahul was full of praises for Man of the Match Jason Holder, who almost snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for SRH.
"I hope so, we are playing some entertaining cricket and have been doing for the last two or three years, but I'll take the win. He (Holder) played exceedingly well. First with the ball, taking those two wickets in an over and then batted really well, on a track where it was difficult to play the big shots. We wanted to get another 20-30 more runs but we'll take the win," KL Rahul said during the post-match presentation ceremony.
KL Rahul doffed his hat to the bowlers who defended 125 runs, the lowest in an IPL match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. The 29-year-old also talked about the "lesson" for the batsmen from the match.
"It gives us a belief that no matter what the situation is, our bowlers can get the opposition out if we get a decent score. Shami to start of, bowled really well, getting two big batters in Warner and Williamson. Made it easier for our spinners to settle into a nice line and length. Lesson for the batsmen would be to realise that it's not a 160-170 surface, if we had built a few partnerships, we could have got to 140-150. He (Harpreet) has been good for us, he can do everything. Has finished some games for us, also gives us control with the ball and great in the field. Everytime I go to him, he tells me 'Paaji (Brother) don't worry, I won't leak runs'. That's his attitude.
In highly unusual scenes, scoring runs at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium became a herculean task due to the extra slow nature of the pitch.
Punjab Kings were the first one to struggle after being asked to bat first. KL Rahul (21) and Aiden Markram (27) were the only two batsmen from the team to score in excess of 20. The likes of Mayank Agarwal (5), Chris Gayle (14), Nicholas Pooran (8), and Deepak Hooda (13) failed to understand the conditions and succumbed to the intelligent spells of bowling from Rashid Khan (1/17), Jason Holder (3/19) and Sandeep Sharma (1/20). 125/7 is all Punjab could manage in the 20 overs.
Later during the run chase, SRH suffered early blows when Mohammed Shami sent David Warner (2) and Kane Williamson (1) in back-to-back overs. Manish Pandey (13), Kedar Jadhav (12) and Abdul Samad (1) followed as Hyderabad were reduced to 60 for 5 in 13 overs.
Jason Holder provided some reprieve and partnered for 32 runs with Wridhimman Saha, whose snail-paced 37-ball 31 knock came to an end with a terrible mix-up in the 17th over. The match looked done and dusted there but Holder breathed life to it by continuing to hit massive sixes.
The match went down to the wire but the lanky all-rounder failed to take his team over the line despite hitting a six when 16 was needed off last 5 balls.
Following the win, Punjab have jumped to 5th spot and kept their playoff chances alive.