Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin played down the animated reaction from his Royal Challengers Bangalore counterpart Virat Kohli after taking his catch near the boundary rope, saying both of them react out of passion. With 27 runs needed from the final over, Ashwin hit the first ball for a six, but on the very next delivery, he hit one straight to Kohli at long-on off Umesh Yadav’s bowling. Kohli celebrated in his typical usual self, giving Ashwin a fiery send-off.
Ashwin, on his part, was also seen throwing his gloves in the dugout in anger. “I just played with passion, so does he (Virat). That’s it. As simple as that,” Ashwin said at the post-match press conference in Bengaluru on Wednesday night after KXIP lost to RCB by 17 runs. KXIP skipper said his team failed to come good during crunch situations. “Three overs for 60 odd runs wasn’t desirable, but we were in the chase all along and I thought we couldn’t finish it off in crunch situation. That is what you back the senior players to do. Didn’t quite turn out the way we wanted. That is exactly how that is gone for us the entire tournament.
“Whenever we played those crucial moments, we won, and whenever we haven’t, we have lost it, because the games are really really tight for us,” said Ashwin. The 32-year-old said KXIP lost the plot in middle overs despite Nicholos Pooran and David Miller bringing them back into the game. “When you chase down 200, you ideally like one of your batsmen to make 70-80. We were not in it. We were 105 in 10 overs or something like that. We lost momentum similar to what RCB did in middle overs, but I thought Nicholos Pooran played really well and he got us back into the game.
“I thought we were cruising at 4 overs 45 or 46 needed. From there on, it is quite disappointing that we could not finish the game on this ground.” Ashwin felt it was important to curtail AB de Villiers as he could make a lot of difference in end overs. “I think (Marcus) Stoinis was 26 off 30 balls before the last over started. So I don’t think that was quite the parameter. I think AB de Villiers is someone who definitely makes a difference in those end overs. It is very important we curtail him. Like I said our execution was all over the place towards the last two-three overs,” he said.
India off-spinner said 30 runs in two overs was getable here at Chinnaswamy track, given the bowling attack of RCB, which had crumbled a lot in this season. “I don’t think it was really tilted. It was a balance like 2 overs 30 is still getable in this ground against the bowling attack we have seen that has crumbled before,” he said. Ashwin said had Miller connected one out of the park, KXIP would have won. “If David (Miller) would have connected one out of the ground it was – like I said it was that close. Just that we could not close out the game. That is really been our downside of the year so far. Hopefully, we can correct it in the coming games,” he said.
On winning three out of their remaining games now, Ashwin said it is important to take one game at a time. “I think we have a couple of more players who get fit by the time we go to Hyderabad which will be a good boost for us. You can look at it as three out of three now, but it is very important to see that we have to win one at a time. The last two games are home games for us where we played reasonably well,” he said.
“We have played some good cricket to actually end up only winning five games in the season. It is not quite pleasing that way, but going into the next three games, I am pretty confident that we can turn it around,” he said. Meanwhile, Marcus Stoinis lavished praise on de Villiers for his match-winning knock by saying, “What a superstar. He showed it again how good he is.