Kings XI making winning a habit, says skipper KL Rahul

Written by Vipin Darwade

Still very much in the play-offs race after registering their fourth victory on the trot, Kings XI Punjab skipper K L Rahul said his side has at last made winning a habit after a slow start in the ongoing Indian Premier League.

The Kings staged an incredible recovery at the death, taking five wickets in the final two overs, to beat SunRisers Hyderabad by 12 runs on Saturday and stay afloat in the tournament.

Chasing a modest 127-run target, the SunRisers batsmen lost their way after a solid 56-run opening stand between skipper David Warner (35) and Jonny Bairstow (19) and were dismissed for 114 in 19.5 overs.

The victory, their fourth on the trot, kept Kings XI in the race for a play-offs berth, as rose to fifth in the eight-team league standings with 10 points from 11 games.

“Yes, we are making it (winning) a habit. In the first half we somehow couldn’t make this a habit. I am just speechless right now, to be honest. Very happy with the show from the boys,” he said after the low-scoring contest.

“The work done is always behind the scenes, not just the players, but the support staff. You can’t change much in a player in two months, but you can always make them mentally better and that’s what coach (Anil) Kumble, Andy (Flower), Charl (Langeveldt), Jonty (Rhodes) and Wasim (Jaffer) have done.”

Rahul said soon after being sent in to bat, he realised it was going to be a low-scoring tie.

“After me and Mandeep (Singh) played the first over we knew it’s not a high scoring wicket. We were thinking close to 160. They went hard in the first six. But I knew we could pull things back if we don’t leak many runs in the powerplay as we have two leggies.

“We sat down and thought about the things that the bowlers would need in conditions like these and it’s good to see the work paying off,” he said.

SunRisers still have an outside chance to make it to the play-offs and for that to happen they will need to win their remaining three games with good net run rates.

“Yeah it does (hurt a lot). Our bowlers did a fantastic job to restrict them. After the start we got, we took our foot off the pedal. Felt on that wicket it was going to get tougher once the spin came into it,” SunRisers captain David Warner said.

“For us it was about trying to apply pressure upfront, negate the swing bowling, but obviously we didn’t get across the line.”

Despite the loss, Warner said his bowlers did well in the match.

“They bowled well with the new ball. Didn’t get all the wickets upfront but we brought it back well. Today our bowlers executed the plans well, very happy with them. Just have to forget this game and move forward.”

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Vipin Darwade