Hyderabad: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) opener KL Rahul has defended his strategy of playing slow initially while chasing a mammoth 213 against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). After the game Rahul said that the plan was that between him and Chris Gayle one was supposed to go all out upfront while the other tried to take the game deep.
Chasing a huge total, Rahul (79 off 56; 4×4, 5×6) made a valiant effort with the bat but lacked support from the other end as KXIP were restricted to 167 for eight.
“That’s been the team plan. One of me or Chris will look to bat 15-16 overs, as deep as possible so the others can play around,” said Rahul at the post-match press conference.
“That doesn’t mean that you don’t play your shots. I tried my shots a few times, it didn’t come off, few went for boundaries while others went to the fielders,” he added.
Rahul though finished with a strike-rate of 141.07 but at one stage he had just made 39 off 36 deliveries when the required rate was well above 15 runs per over.
The 27-year-old explained that he knew he could make up for it in the back end had he stayed at the crease in the middle overs. “Not always as a batsman you will get off to an amazing start, you don’t get a 20-ball 50 each time. Sometimes when you are not finding your touch you have to hang in there. I know that if I am set I can make up for it,” asserted Rahul.
Rahul also backed spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman, who conceded 66 runs in his four overs, highest in this year’s IPL. “Obviously, anybody who goes for that many runs will be disappointed. Sometimes it is not your day. In T20 cricket that happens. One of the bowlers will get targeted and go for runs,” Rahul informed.
“He (Mujeeb) is a young guy, he has a lot of skill. This is the first time he has gone for so many runs. Before this he has done really well for Kings XI and yeah one-off game this happens to every bowler. You just have to have the mental strength to bounce back,” added Rahul.