Our win was too close for comfort: Ashwin

Mohali: Kings XI Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin has said his side has a lot of scope for improvement after they encountered yet another “too close” game in the ongoing Indian Premier League.

K L Rahul (71 not out) and Mayank Agarwal (55) struck fluent half-centuries to guide Kings XI Punjab to a six-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in a nail-biting contest here.

Chasing 151 for a win, Kings XI were coasting at 132 for one before three quick wickets took the game to the wire.

‘Too close for comfort. We have had really close games, the biggest positive for me is there is scope for improvement,’ Ashwin said at the post-match presentation ceremony. “It will be really harsh to say that we conceded 100 runs in the last 10 overs. The plans were held very well upon. There is enough ability to work on it.”

Ashwin backed Mujeeb Ur Rahman, saying the Afghan spinner was an asset who can be used upfront. “Mujeeb knows Mohali very well and as a spinner, you need to know the lengths and speeds to bowl at. Sometimes the figures don’t do justice, but I think Mujeeb bowled well. You do use spinners with the new ball and Mujeeb has done it all his life for Afghanistan. And it was a good match-up between (Jonny) Bairstow and Mujeeb,” he said.

The Sunrisers skipper Bhuvneshwar Kumar said he was happy with his bowlers efforts, especially with the dew playing a major factor in the second innings. “Of course it is hard but I am pretty happy with the way we bowled with the dew around. It is a bit difficult with yorkers and slower balls, but given the dew, we executed our plans pretty well,” he said.

“The yorker is something you can’t bowl and the bowling plans depend on the length of the boundaries. When we came to bowl we kept the dew factor out of our minds and all we wanted to do was stretch it to the last over.”

Man-of-the-match Rahul said he was happy to get his form back after an ordinary start to this year’s IPL. “I didn’t start off the way I wanted to in the first couple of games. I am just enjoying my batting and happy to end up on the winning side,” he said.

Warner shows how to avoid ‘Mankading’

Sunrisers Hyderabad’s David Warner was extra cautious while Ravichandran Ashwin operated in the IPL Monday night, deliberately dragging his bat inside the safe zone to avoid becoming a victim of ‘Mankading’.

Warner was seen taking precaution by staying inside the crease during Ashwin’s over. Warner, who was at the non-striker’s end, kept dragging his bat inside the safe zone to ensure that he does not become Ashwin’s ‘Mankad’ victim.

The Australian’s antics was quickly picked up by the cameras and replayed on the big screen. The clip of the incident was later uploaded by the official IPL website — iplt20.com. Earlier in the tournament, off-spinner Ashwin had dismissed Rajasthan Royals’ Jos Buttler without giving him a prior warning and that had attracted a lot of criticism from across the cricket fraternity.

As per the rules, a bowler is within his right to dismiss a batsman who leaves the crease before the ball is being released. But the practice has been generally deemed as against the ‘spirit of the game.’