On a day when Lucknow Super Giants’ Nicholas Pooran smashed the second-fastest IPL half-century, his captain KL Rahul defended his inexplicable 20-ball-18 stating that he “has done the right thing”.
The West Indian left-hand batter’s 19-ball 62 — and his 15-ball half-century — played a pivotal role in LSG chasing down a stiff RCB’s 212-run total on the last ball at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Monday night.
However, the innings played by Rahul — who has often been criticised for his unflattering strike rate in T20 cricket and was included in the 2022 World Cup squad despite criticism — stood in stark contrast to the West Indian’s hell for leather effort.
But Rahul, who lost his Test vice-captaincy midway through the Border-Gavaskar series, recently due to poor form, said post-match that losing wickets in a heap forced him to go slow.
“If I score more runs, the strike-rate will go up. I looked at the situation and I feel I had done the right thing. Hopefully, with a couple of good knocks the strike rate will go up,” Rahul said, following LSG’s one-wicket win.
Rahul, in the 72 T20Is he has played has scored 2,265 runs at a strike rate of 139.12, and his overall strike rate in the shortest format is just 136.93. His strike-rate is more about making it up towards the end.
In the end, Rahul’s stay at the crease only added to the pressure on the likes of Pooran and Ayush Badoni to accelerate the run-rate. In fact, Marcus Stoinis, who came in at No.5, was left with little choice but to go for the big hits from the word go, smashing a 30-ball 65 to infused some life into the innings.
Rahul, who has played most of his cricket in formative years at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, said, “From the position we were in, we were chasing 210-plus and we knew we had to go hard and attack. But, sometimes, when you do that you lose wickets. Unbelievable, I mean it’s the Chinnaswamy. I’ve grown up here and I think it’s the stadium with most last-ball finishes.
“They (RCB) bowled well in the powerplay, they swung it well. But the way Stoinis and Pooran played, if we have two points today it’s because of them.” Badoni chipped in with 30 off 24 balls.
Rahul added, “If you look at the middle order, No. 5, 6 and 7, they win you the crunch games. The top order will get the bulk of runs but it’s those positions that matter and that’s why we invested in power in Pooran, Stoinis and Badoni. And Badoni is learning to finish games.”