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IPL 2021: Punjab Kings skipper Rahul not looking too far ahead

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on April 24, 2021
KL Rahul (right) and Chris Gayle celebrate after the match against the Mumbai Indians. — BCCI/IPL

We are still a young team and it is important to be patient, he says


A new name and a new season but it had almost seemed a mirror image of last year for the rechristened Punjab Kings. Following their last-ball win in their opening fixture against the Rajasthan Royals, they had gone three matches without a win, suffering defeats against the Chennai Super Kings, the Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad.

But the Punjab Kings stopped the downward spiral against reigning champions the Mumbai Indians in Chennai, with a fine all-round performance.

A much-needed victory it was and it couldn’t have come at a better time but KL Rahul felt there is more that needs to be done and the Punjab Kings skipper was not looking too far ahead.

“We don't want to get too ahead of ourselves. Slowly, we are coming together as a team. We are still a young team. Every year we keep bringing in newer guys. It's important to be patient,” said Rahul, who was the Man of the Match.

After the bowling attack was impeccable in keeping down the strong Mumbai Indians batting line-up to 131, Rahul led the way with an unbeaten half-century, his 24th in the tournament.

Rahul was pleased with how some of the players like Shahrukh Khan, Deepak Hooda and Ravi Bishnoi had come about.

Shahrukh Khan, the Tamil Nadu finisher, had scored a battling 47 the other night against the Chennai Super Kings, while Hooda, who apart from making 64 against the Rajasthan Royals, took one for 15 in his three overs against the Mumbai Indians. Bishnoi, playing his first game of the season, picked up two for 21 in his four overs against Mumbai.

“The guys we have backed and given opportunities are slowly coming through. Hooda has been playing really well, Shahrukh got an opportunity and he's been batting really well, Bishnoi came in this game and the way he bowled was brilliant. Fingers crossed, hopefully we can keep climbing and keep getting two points every game,” the 29-year-old said.

“I am sure it gives him (Bishnoi) a lot of confidence. He unfortunately missed the first few games, he's been working really hard with Anil bhai. There were a few things he needed to correct and he's been somebody who's brave, that's very good to see. He held his composure and bowled really well,” he added.

Rahul also praised ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle for his calming presence. It was a different kind of knock from the West Indian with the Jamaican making an unbeaten 43 from 35 balls with five boundaries and two sixes.

“I felt that the wicket was sticky. I felt that the bowlers always were under pressure, it was important that they bowled on a wicket like this early. We had heard that there was a lot of dew here. I felt like that could play a part. The drier ball started to grip, when it turns and bounces like that, it gets really hard. It was good of Chris that he got through that period. He was always confident that he could make it up. He knew whom to target. That's what you get with Chris, not just destructive batting but also experience of so many years playing T20 cricket,” explained Rahul.

james@khaleejtimes.com





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