Glenn Maxwell heaped praise on bowlers and fielders for their 14-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders as Kings XI Punjab stay in the hunt for play-offs spot in the tenth edition of IPL. Playing the match in a do-or-die situation, Punjab needed exceptional performance by their bowlers and Mohit Sharma, Rahul Tewatia kept up to expectations as the hosts just gave 22 runs in the last three overs and hold Kolkata Knight Riders to 153/6.
“I asked for an improved performance on the field and certainly got that tonight. Axar Patel led by example on the field. I suppose the spinners came into the game, Rahul Tewatia bowled really well. As soon as that first ball spun, we realised we could get in a lot of overs from the spinners. We were able to get a couple of wickets in the middle, and kept them quiet till the end,” Maxwell said.
Punjab, who still find themselves in a must-win situation in their remaining two matches, rode on skipper Maxwell and Wriddhiman Saha’s partnership of 71 runs to steer their total to 167 after they lost both the openers Mann Vohra and Martin Guptill and Shaun Marsh for just 56 runs on the board. Maxwell smashed a four and four sixes while Saha hit two fours and a maximum.
“We probably left ourselves maybe 10-15 short, but the way we scrapped on the field and the way we bowled, outstanding. They (bowlers) were probably at their calmest, they knew what they wanted to do and executed it well. Still hanging in there by the skin of our teeth, but we’re giving our fans something to cheer for,” concluded the Punjab captain.
On the other hand, with the defeat, Gautam Gambhir-led Kolkata need to win their next match against table-toppers Mumbai Indians to make it into the play-offs. KKR lost Robin Uthappa and Gambhir in the same over of Tewatia, which was the turning point in the match.
“I thought we started off really well. I thought me and Robin getting out was the turning point. Credit to Kings XI, they hung in there and never gave us easy runs. I thought the dot balls made a lot of difference. Obviously you want to be smart. At one stage, we needed 7.5 or 8 an over, taking it to 10 or 11 was the turning point. You could say I could have opened and Robin could have come in at 3. But we thought Sunil has been hitting the ball well. Maybe we could think of that combination in the coming games,” said the Kolkata skipper.