Lucknow Super Giants captain KL Rahul won the toss at Eden Gardens on Wednesday evening and opted to bowl against Royal Challengers Bangalore, hoping that his bowlers would get some assistance from the surface. It started drizzling just a while before the toss, resulting in a slight delay and the Lucknow camp perhaps thought that the conditions could favour them.
While RCB lost its captain Faf du Plessis early, Rajat Patidar walked in and forged a 66-run stand with Virat Kohli. And even after Kohli’s dismissal, the 28-year-old batter from Madhya Pradesh stepped up and went on to score his first century in the tournament. However, he got a reprieve and made the most of the opportunity. While he tore into Lucknow bowlers, the seasoned Dinesh Karthik, too, chipped in with an unbeaten 37 off 23. Karthik, too, was dropped – by Lucknow captain Rahul.
And after a 14-run defeat in the eliminator knocked the Super Giants out of the tournament, Rahul admitted that poor fielding and dropped catches hurt the team. “It is hard to pinpoint one thing. Skillswise, you can have a bad day and can go wrong with your execution. Something that has let us down badly in this game is our fielding. We dropped some easy catches…” Rahul said.
“I dropped DK when he was batting, probably in single digits. Patidar was dropped when he was batting on 60 or 70… Dropping them cost us that extra 30-40 runs. We fought hard and tried our best to chase down the target. But we were just two hits away and had we gotten those in the middle overs, probably we would have won this game,” the captain said.
Chasing 208, Super Giants struggled in the middle-overs, despite Rahul and Hooda being at the crease. “This season has been like every other season – a good learning. As a team, it has been a challenging season, we learnt a lot. Looking back, it was just about two big hits in the middle overs that could have gotten us over the line. We were trying…” Rahul said, heaping praises on RCB bowlers, especially Harshal Patel, who conceded just 25 runs in four overs and dismissed Marcus Stoinis.
“They bowled really well. Harshal’s two overs pushed us back a little. He gave away just seven or eight runs, he really changed his pace well. He bowled to the field and that pushed us back a little bit,” Rahul stated.
While Rahul had a good season, amassing 616 runs in 15 outings, his average was not quite impressive while chasing a total and the India international admitted that he has gone through the statistics. “In this season, I have gone through the stats and realised that my scores in the second innings haven’t been much. But this was a big game and when you come to big games, you forget what happened in the last 14 games. You try to play this game as a fresh game and try to give your best. This has been a good learning experience. I enjoy chasing, but at times it clicks at times, it doesn’t…” he said, “Overall, our stats have not been good while chasing, and we need to improve that.”