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Bowlers have given Punjab self-belief, says captain Rahul

Source: PTI
September 26, 2021 13:19 IST
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IMAGE: Punjab Kings fast bowler Mohammed Shami celebrates the wicket of David Warner of Sunrisers Hyderabad. Photograph: BCCI

The narrow five-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in their IPL in Sharjah on Saturday has given Punjab Kings the self-belief that their bowlers can restrict any opposition if they have a decent score on the board.

 

Sent in to bat, Punjab Kings could manage 125/7 on a slow wicket but their bowlers produced a clinical performance to restrict SRH to 120/7 in 20 overs and keep their IPL play-off hopes alive.

 

"We wanted to get another 20-30 more runs, but we will take the win. 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," said Rahul in the post-match presentation.

"(Mohammed) Shami, to start off, bowled really well, getting two big batters in (David) Warner and (Kane) Williamson. He made it easier for our spinners to settle into a nice line and length."

The 21-year-old Ravi Bishnoi (3/24) was the pick of the bowlers as he ran through the SRH middle order after Shami rocked the run-chase early on by dismissing both Warner (2) and captain Williamson (1) cheaply in the first and third overs respectively.

Chasing 126 for victory, on a slow Sharjah Cricket Stadium track, SRH ended up at 120 for 7 in 20 overs.

Punjab, however, could not put up a good show with the bat and Rahul said that the batters should realise that they need to approach their batting after assessing the conditions.

"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 said.

Rahul also praised West Indian Jason Holder (3/19, 47 not out) for his all-round show.

"He 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."

The defeat ended SRH's hopes of making it to the play-offs.

Captain Kane Williamson, however, appreciated the efforts of the bowlers on a tough wicket.

"The bowling unit, fielding unit did a fantastic job. Certainly, the surface was a tough one. Required partnerships and we were certainly backing ourselves to get close," he said.

"It took a brilliant individual performance in both halves from Jason Holder, especially with the bat to keep the match competitive. It's (SRH) a proud franchise, frustrating season.

"We do need to look for areas to improve...We need to come to the next game with fresh eyes and freedom. We will try and put in the best. Smart cricket needs to be played with different surfaces."

Holder, who was adjudged the Player of the Match, said it was a "tough loss".

"Halfway we were in the game. Left a little bit too much in the back end to do. It was good to get a good start (with the ball) ... I just wanted to give myself a chance and strike well.

"Obviously, we have five games left and these are important games for us... The fans are always behind us, so got to play for them."

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