His baffling batting approach led to his team’s seven-run loss against Gujarat Titans but Lucknow Super Giants captain KL Rahul on Saturday refused to take the blame, saying “these things happen in cricket and we will have to take it on the chin”.
Chasing 136 for a win on a sluggish pitch, LSG was cruising along at 105 for 1 after 14 overs with 31 needed off 36 deliveries but ended at 128 for 7 from 20 overs.
Rahul (68 off 61 balls) reached to his 50 off 33 balls but then consumed another 28 deliveries for his 18 before he was out in the final over from which LSG needed 12.
“I don’t know how it happened, but it has happened. I can’t put a finger on where it went wrong, but we lost two points today, this is cricket,” Rahul said at the post-match presentation.
“We started well with the bat, but these things happen, we’ll have to take it on the chin.” Rahul, however, conceded that the batters should have taken a few more chances as they had wickets in hand.
“We were well ahead in the game and I wasn’t really trying to bat deep, I still wanted to play my shots, take on the bowlers, but they bowled well in that 2-3 over period, by Noor and Jayant.
“We perhaps should have taken a few more chances with wickets in hand. They bowled decently. Not an easy wicket for new batters to come in. Set batters need to finish the game.
“We missed some boundary opportunities in the end. The pressure got to us in the last 3-4 overs, we played well until then. But we should have got it done.” He praised his bowlers for restricting GT to 135 for 6.
“I thought we were brilliant with the ball, 135 was 10 runs under par, the bowling was exceptional.
“But still a long way to go, 8 points off 7 games, we were on the wrong side of the result today.”
Hardik Pandya said a win like this can boost the team’s confidence.
“After the two games we lost, this seems like god is telling us I am not always going to take from you, I will give to you too,” he said.
“The way the environment changed when we got wickets, the belief we had, was wonderful to watch. In a tournament like this, one loss can break you, but such a win can do the opposite.” Talking about the team strategy, he said, “At best, we could have score 10 more runs. That’s how the wicket was.
“During the strategic timeout, we spoke about the set batter batting longer because the new batter was going to find it difficult.” Asked at what stage he thought his side could win, Pandya said, “When there was 30 required off 30, I felt they were ahead. We started sniffing something when it came down to 27 off 4 overs.
“A run a ball off 10 overs is different, but when it comes down to 24 off 24, you know a mistake can cost you the game. That’s when the game changes.” Asked why he gave the ball to Mohit Sharma to defend 12 runs in the final over, he said, “The amount of cricket Mohit has played, I didn’t need to tell him anything. The calmness, planning and execution he showed, it was tremendous.
“At same time, Shami showed his experience. Mohit and Shami were tremendous. Special mention to Jayant as well, playing after such a long time. Obviously Noor has some talent.”
Mohit, on his part, said he did not try anything special.
“Nothing special, everything’s normal, as usual. I think I have been consistent. You need to focus and prepare in the same manner each and every time, that helps.
“You need to keep practising, just stick to the basics and try not to overthink. That belief factor was always there. Nehra adviced us to stick to our plans honestly. I tried to focus on executing my plans. Also tried that the batters couldn’t read what I was trying to bowl.” He said the team never lost the belief and captain Hardik Pandya kept telling the players from the beginning that they were winning the match.
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