Mohali dew factor hampered Sunrisers, aided KXIP: Sandeep Sharma
Dew was a tough proposition for Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mohali. © BCCI

Dew was the talking point after Kings XI Punjab‘s penultimate-ball win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in Mohali on Sunday, with the losing captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar admitting that the despite the conditions he was pleased with how his team bowled when defending a total of 150.

Sandeep Sharma, a member of Hyderabad’s bowling unit, also spoke of the difficulty in keeping the ball dry in the second half of the match.

“It had rained this morning, so the wicket had a bit of moisture, it was a bit sticky,” he told reporters after the loss. “Batting was tough because of that. We thought we would revise the total and batted accordingly. But in the end, dew was a big factor. There was a lot of dew and the entire ground was wet, the ball was getting wet. Due to this batting became easier in the second half than the first half.” (Talking points: Warner kept quiet, Agarwal let off)

Hyderabad were kept quiet during the first ten overs of their innings, after R Ashwin put them in to bat, reaching 50/1 with David Warner limited to one boundary. Though Warner accelerated and helped Hyderabad score 100 from the next ten overs, the dew factor in Mohali helped Punjab complete their chase.

Warner batted all 20 overs to finish not out on 70, but once again Hyderabad were let down by their middle order.

“Not many got the chance in the first few matches because they [Warner and Jonny Bairstow] were batting most of the time and registered three hundred-run partnerships,” said Sandeep. “Even if you observe today’s game, the middle order didn’t play a big role, Warner batted through. The middle order hasn’t yet had a role to play. It was only in the previous game when the middle order collapsed. (VIDEO: KL Rahul takes KXIP to third spot)

“So you can’t form opinions based on one game or be too concerned with it. We have plenty of talented batsmen in our middle order who are also experienced – like Yusuf Pathan, [Mohammad] Nabi, and talented batsmen like Hooda and Manish Pandey. So we have the blend of experience and youth. I have the belief that they’ll perform well going forward in the tournament. There are plenty of matches left, the tournament is not even halfway done.”

Ankit Rajpoot speaks to the media after Sunday's IPL match.
Ankit Rajpoot speaks to the media after Sunday’s IPL match. © BCCI

Ankit Rajpoot had a say in keeping quiet, as he bowled his four overs for just 21 runs while keeping Warner tied down with his cutters and short-of-a-length deliveries.

“We were keen on capitalising on their weak points as all teams would do against the opposition batsmen,” he said. “I did the same against them. I did not give David Warner a lot of room to play shots, especially in his scoring areas. We ensured that we had blocked their runs. That was my plan.”

Ashwin said that the inclusion of Rajpoot and Mujeeb Ur Rahman – who dismissed Bairstow in the second over – was based on the “opposition and the conditions”.

Rajpoot vindicated the decision with a fine display of pace bowling.

“The ground and the wicket was a little helpful. As I can swing the ball, I was given the responsibility up front with confidence instilled in me that I can bowl well here,” he said. “If I could have taken wickets, it would have been much better for me. There was a specific plan, considering that the other wickets that we played on were either flat or slow pitches, wherein it wasn’t possibly as helpful. Here, on the other hand, we got a green track and hence I got my opportunity.”

Hyderabad, who have lost two games in a row to slip to fourth place on the IPL points table, have a five-day gap before they play two games at home.

“As a group we need to back ourselves,” said Sandeep. “The players whose performance wasn’t up to the mark, to back them and win the match. We weren’t able to do that in the last two matches but obviously our focus will be on that. We have a break of five days, we’ll try to rectify our mistakes and hopefully come back stronger in the next game.”