After the Kings XI Punjab were knocked out of IPL 2020 following a loss against the Chennai Super Kings, KL Rahul, the captain, said that the controversial one-short run call against them during their first match of the season eventually came back to bite them “very hard”, and that the team’s fortunes could have been different had they not let go of matches within their reach.
In the 19th over of the Kings XI’s chase against the Delhi Capitals in their opening game, umpire Nitin Menon signalled a short run after Mayank Agarwal and Chris Jordan completed a two. Replays, however, suggested Jordan’s bat had gone past the crease. In a game that was eventually tied and went into a Super Over – which was won by the Capitals – that one run proved crucial. Kings XI CEO Satish Menon had then said that the decision could “cost them a playoff spot”, while many, including the team’s co-owner Priety Zinta, wondered if technological intervention could have given them the extra run and possibly a win.
“A lot could have [been different],” Rahul told the host broadcaster after the match against the Super Kings. “It was disappointing. If you look back, there were times where we had a lot of games in our pockets, (but) we couldn’t get over the line and finish. Then we only have ourselves to blame. Starting with the first game, the short run, looking back at it, it’s come back to bite us very hard. It’s life – we all make mistakes, we’ve made a few mistakes this season as a team, we need to accept it, learn from it and come back.”
Kings XI lost six of their first seven games and were rooted to the bottom of the table. But a win against the Royal Challengers Bangalore sparked a turnaround, following which they went on to win five games on the trot, and became strong contenders to make the playoffs. However, they let the chance slip as they lost two crucial games – their last two in the group stage – to the Rajasthan Royals and the Super Kings respectively.
Their death bowling was among the major concerns for most of the campaign, while their middle-order batting also didn’t click as expected, with Glenn Maxwell not hitting form. However, the belated inclusion of Chris Gayle, who was slotted in at No. 3, bolstered their batting, with the T20 giant contributing with big scores in their wins.
“We didn’t have results going our way in the first half. The team still felt we were playing good cricket, we were patchy at times, the bowling and batting didn’t come together in the first half, but the second half we started doing that really well,” Rahul said. “Really proud that we gave ourselves an opportunity to come in the top four and unfortunate that today and yesterday’s game didn’t go our way but there’s a lot of things to proud of as a team, so hopefully come back stronger next year and forget this year.”