Ravichandran Ashwin-led Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) succumbed to a disappointing 17-run defeat at the hands of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday. RCB’s premier overseas recruit AB de Villiers dominated the proceedings in the first innings, smashing a staggering unbeaten knock to propel his team to a monumental total. While in the second innings, right-arm fast bowler Umesh Yadav bowled a brilliant spell to restrict the opposition and in turn powered RCB to a splendid victory.
KXIP’s hard-hitting wicket-keeper batsman, Nicholas Pooran did give the visitors slight bit of hope, smashing a brilliant knock of 46 runs off just 28 balls, but in the end, he too boiled down under the run-chase pressure and threw his wicket away to Navdeep Saini in the 19th over. His wicket also brought down the curtains on KXIP’s progress in the game last night.
Ashwin sheds light on the send-off
KXIP required 27 runs from the final over of the game and Ashwin smashed a sensational six off the first ball of Umesh Yadav’s over. However, on the very next ball, the KXIP skipper was caught at the long-on region by RCB skipper Virat Kohli. After taking the catch, Virat also gave a bit off offensive send-off to his counter skipper. While speaking on this issue, Ashwin mentioned that both he and Virat like to play the game with a lot of passion and that was a clear reflection of it.
“I just played with passion, so does he (Virat). That’s it. As simple as that,” said Ravichandran Ashwin during a conversation with the media reporters during the post-match press conference.
We couldn’t finish it off in crunch situation
After picking up the early wickets, KXIP bowlers came in way of an ‘AB de Villiers Special’. The former South African cricketer compiled a staggering unbeaten innings of 82 runs which consisted of 7 sixes and 3 fours. Together de Villiers and Marcus Stoinis smashed a blistering total of 64 runs in the last three overs to propel KXIP towards a massive total of 202 runs.
“Three overs for 60 odd runs wasn’t desirable, but we were in the chase all along and I thought we couldn’t finish it off in crunch situation. That is what you back the senior players to do. Didn’t quite turn out the way we wanted. That is exactly how that is gone for us the entire tournament,” Ashwin added.
This was the sixth loss of the season for the Ravichandran Ashwin-led team and with 10 points in their kitty, they have reduced themselves in a tough situation as they have to win all their remaining three games to book a place in the playoffs.
“We have played some good cricket to actually end up only winning five games in the season. It is not quite pleasing that way, but going into the next three games, I am pretty confident that we can turn it around,” the KXIP skipper concluded.