Virender Sehwag, former Indian opener has opined that Punjab Kings captain KL Rahul nearly lost the game for his team due to his inability to finish off the match against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday.
KL Rahul once again anchored the innings for his side during a run-chase of 166, scoring a 55-ball 67. But with just four runs needed off the last five deliveries, KL Rahul went for the glory shot trying to hit the maximum and holed out at long-off off Venkatesh Iyer. Virender Sehwag expressed his disappointment with the thought process of the Punjab captain.
Virender Sehwag: KL Rahul Didn’t Fulfill His Responsibility To Finish The Game
The former opener added that had Shah Rukh Khan’s controversial catch been adjudged out by the third umpire, Punjab might have lost the game for which the blame would have fallen squarely on KL Rahul.
Sehwag said: “He didn’t fulfill his responsibility; had he finished off the game after scoring 46 off 42 balls, then I would have said that he did his job. If Shah Rukh Khan’s catch was adjudged out and had Punjab lost the game then the entire blame would have fallen on Rahul.”
Eventually, Shah Rukh Khan, who scored an unbeaten nine-ball 22, smashed a six on the third delivery to seal a much-needed win for his team.
Virender Sehwag: KL Rahul May Get MOM But His Thought Process Was Wrong
Virender Sehwag further added on the same note that even if KL Rahul had stayed unbeaten till the end with an underwhelming strike rate, it would have been hailed as a job well done.
“If you need only 5 runs off six balls, take five singles and finish off the game, what is the need to go for a six? Even if had stayed unbeaten in the end, I would have said he played a captain’s knock,” Sehwag said.
KL Rahul has been eventually adjudged the Player of the Match for his knock, but Virender Sehwag wasn’t happy with the opener’s thought process. The former cricketer reckoned that even if KL Rahul has made up his mind to play the anchor’s role, he must learn the art of finishing games.
”He may get the “Player of the Match” award, but his thought process was wrong. Imagine if Shah Rukh hadn’t scored that 9-ball 22, KL Rahul would have lost the game given his strike rate. I am not happy with his approach; he needs to learn the art of finishing games,” Sehwag added.
KKR made two changes to their team, bringing in Tim Seifert and Shivam Mavi in place of Lockie Ferguson and Shivam Mavi while PBKS, who elected to bowl, brought in Mayank Agarwal, Fabian Allen, and Shahrukh Khan, replacing Mandeep Singh, Chris Gayle, and Harpreet Brar.
Mayank Agarwal made a quickfire 40 after an early reprieve, while opener KL Rahul anchored the 166 chase with a 55-ball 67. Shahrukh Khan applied the finishing touches with an unbeaten 22 off nine balls. Punjab’s five-wicket win against KKR has kept their hopes of making the IPL 2021 playoffs alive. The KL Rahul-led unit will lock horns with the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday.
KL Rahul is the highest run-scorer in IPL 2021 amassing 489 runs in 11 matches averaging 54.33 with 5 fifties. He was the highest run-scorer in IPL 2020 too with 670 runs in 14 appearances averaging 55.83 with 1 ton and 5 fifties.