PBKS’ abysmal slip-up: Ever since the IPL resumed, there were two matches and both of them starred low-scoring contests with Chennai Super Kings successfully defending their modest total while Kolkata Knight Riders rocked Royal Challengers Bangalore with a dominating bowling display.
Fans had to wait for a couple of lackluster nights for IPL to bring out its heavy artillery as Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings duked out a high-scoring thriller with some extraordinary late drama to underpin the true ethos of T20 cricket.
Royals were off to a blinder as Evin Lewis and Yashashvi Jaiswal hammered a handful of exotic stokes to dictate the proceedings for Rajasthan.
It needed some persistent knocking around from the Punjab bowlers to rack up their opening breakthrough as Arshdeep Singh got the better of Evil Lewis.
It was another display of fiasco from Sanju Samson as the Royals captain couldn’t handle the pace of Ishan Porel, holing out to KL Rahul.
Liam Livingstone and Jaiswal stitched a rollicking stand between themselves to sail Royals through to a convenient 116 before the English batsman was undone by Arshdeep’s mix of pace.
However, his departure brought out Mahipal Lomror who absolutely scorched the Punjab bowlers with an extraordinary brand of belligerence that saw him whacking 2 fours and 4 sixes to rack up 43 from just 16 balls before Arshdeep bested him with another slower delivery.
However, the story for Royals from thereon was of sheer disappointment as a batting collapse brought them down to their knees with the team going from 166 for 4 to 185 all out.
Arshdeep Singh claimed a fifer while Mohammed Shami claimed three crucial wickets for just 21 runs, turning the game somewhat in Punjab’s favour, given the initial scenes that promised a 200 for Royals.
Punjab was off to a flying start with KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal posting a rock-solid illustration. The duo stitched together 120 runs before Chetan Sakariya and Rahul Tewatia snuffed out both the openers in quick succession.
However, it never looked like Punjab can be in trouble as Nicholas Pooran and Aiden Markram had things well under control with the duo almost sailing the Red Army home without ado. From the last two overs, Punjab needed 8 runs to bag a victory and it felt like a formality for the Royals to bowl the last 12 balls, especially with the way Markram and Pooran were batting.
Mustafizur kept things tight for the Royals in the 19th over that brought the equation down to four runs required from the last 6 balls. Young Kartik Tyagi was summoned to bowl those last six deliveries and he started the over with a bang as he conceded just one run from the first three balls that also starred the big wicket of Nicholas Pooran.
Deepak Hooda came in the middle and played out a dot to be dismissed on the next, flipping the tide around in Royals’ favour as they were on the fringes of a remarkable victory. The last ball was another beauty as he whipped out a fierce yorker to leave Fabian Allen reeling in agony as they won the game by two runs.
In this story, we will take a quick look at two poor decisions by KL Rahul that cost them a sheer victory that may come back to haunt them in the near offing.
#1 Consistent changing of the team line-up
Every team tries to forge a winning line-up and resorts to a victorious combination once they find their footing. Surprisingly, Punjab has this weird experimenting fascination that has kept them from fielding the best of their players. It was an absolute shocker to witness Ravi Bishnoi being dropped from the team alongside West Indian opener, Chris Gayle. Though Markram really didn’t disappoint and Pooran seemed to be in form too, Adil Rashid and Fabian Allen were question marks. Fans have been absolutely furious against the management that also includes the voice of KL Rahul who has failed to impress with his captaincy until now.
#2 Seeming absolutely clueless in probably one of the easiest situations
Poor finishing has always been a major spot of bother for the Kings and ever since 2015, they have been losing out games that simply should have been a cakewalk for them. In 2020, in a familiar position against KKR, they lost the game that no one believed could have been a defeat for them. Sadly, Rahul has failed to spot the problem and this woe has now become perennial and it continues to trouble Punjab. Unless the Kings fail to fix this, they will once again be missing out on the play-offs.