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Slow-bowler plan worked to perfection vs MI: PK's KL Rahul

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Chennai, April 24 (IANS) Punjab Kings skipper KL Rahul, who led from the front in his team’s victory against defending Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Mumbai Indians (MI), said on Saturday that not allowing Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock to play their natural game was the main reason for the team’s nine-wicket win.

With some tight spin bowling, Punjab Kings restricted their opponents to 131 for six and then notched up the required runs for the loss of just one wicket and with 14 balls to spare. KL Rahul and Chris Gayle remained unbeaten on 60 and 43 runs, respectively.

“The pair of Moises Henriques and Deepak Hooda probably took them by surprise. That was the best option on the (Chidambaram Stadium) pitch, I felt, because it was slow and it didn’t look like the ball was going to come on to the bat. So, I felt, slower the bowlers, the harder it would be for the batsmen to hit. This is what we had planned before the game. And it worked on Friday,” said Rahul.

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“We have statisticians and analysts to tell us what the opposition players like and we knew that Rohit (Sharma) and Quinton (de Kock) liked the ball coming on and they like pace, so the whole point was to take the pace off, and I’m really happy that it worked.”

While Hooda tied down the MI batsmen, conceding only 15 runs in his three overs and taking opener De Kock’s wicket for three, young Ravi Bishnoi too played a big part, giving away only 21 runs in his four overs and dismissing top-order batsmen Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav.

“I’m happy that we all struck to our plan. The previous games we have spoken a lot about strategies and tactics and, somehow, under pressure, we’ve not executed that really well, or not remembered our plans and swayed away from our plans. That’s what hurt us. (Before the match) we spoke about it that we believe in our process, we believe in our plans and the way the boys started, the energy was really high,” said Rahul as the team packed up to begin the Ahmedabad leg of the IPL journey.

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“We wanted to beat Mumbai Indians, it was really a big game. We are very happy that we won.”

On the Ahmedabad leg, the PK skipper said, “It was very important that we finished Chennai (leg) with a win so that we get some momentum going into Ahmedabad. We are going to take the four ties in Ahmedabad one game at a time and forget the games that have happened. Really looking forward to playing some good aggressive cricket in Ahmedabad and, hopefully, get a good start as well.”

–IANS

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akm/pgh

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