We should have been in top half of table, says Punjab batting coach after loss to Rajasthan

Following his side’s campaign-ending loss to Rajasthan Royals (RR) in their Indian Premier League match, Punjab Kings batting coach Wasim Jaffer termed the season as “disappointing” and expressed that the team should have finished on the top half of the points table with the squad they had assembled for the tournament.

Dhruv Jurel’s final over six clinched the victory for Rajasthan Royals and ended Punjab Kings’ hopes of sealing their place in the 2023 playoffs at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium on Friday.

“Disappointing season, without a doubt,” said Jaffer at apost-match press conference. “With the kind of squad we had, we should have been in the top half of the table. We have definitely underperformed. We should have won a couple of tight ones. But, like I said in the preview also, the batting and bowling have not clicked together. So that has been the case throughout. It has been a disappointing season,”

Jaffer said that the bowling let the team down sometimes and batters did not click together as a whole.

“Bowling has sometimes let us down. Initially, the batting was not clicking together. It has not clicked together. I do not want to get into the nitty-gritties but we have not played that perfect game apart from that Delhi game, which we won by 30-odd runs. Every game was a tight one, whether we won or lost. So we did not play that perfect game and no excuses. We underperformed.”

“We play in Mohali, which has very batting-friendly conditions; it is tough for the bowlers. But still, the kind of bowling attack we had, especially fast bowlers and even spinners, we should have bowled better in certain conditions. We did not live up to expectations as a bowling unit,” concluded the batting coach.

After being put to bat first by RR, PBKS scored 187/5 in their 20 overs. They struggled against RR bowlers initially, losing their four wickets for just 50 runs in 6.3 overs. Then Jitesh Sharma (44 in 28 balls, with three fours and three sixes) and Sam Curran stitched a 64-run stand for the fifth wicket to bring PBKS back into the game. Then in death overs, Curran (49* in 31 balls, with four boundaries and two sixes) and Shahrukh Khan (41* in 23 balls, four boundaries and two sixes) joined forces to up the run rate, taking PBKS to a competitive total. They scored 46 runs in the final two overs.

Navdeep Saini (3/40) was the pick of the bowlers for RR. Trent Boult and Adam Zampa took a wicket each.

In the chase of 188, RR lost Jos Buttler early for a duck, his fifth this season. Then Yashasvi Jaiswal (50 in 36 balls, with eight fours) and Devdutt Padikkal (51 in 30 balls, with four boundaries and three sixes) stitched a 73-run stand for the second wicket, helping RR fight back. Later on, cameos from Shimron Hetmyer (46 in 28 balls, four boundaries and three sixes), Riyan Parag (20 in 12 balls, with one four and two sixes) and Dhruv Jurel (10* in four balls) helped RR clinch a last-over thriller win by four wickets.

Kagiso Rabada (2/40) was the pick of the bowlers for PBKS. Sam Curran, Nathan Ellis, Deepak Chahar and Arshdeep Singh took a wicket each.

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Padikkal got the ‘Player of the Match’ award for his fifty.

With this, RR is in the fifth spot in the points table with seven wins and seven losses. They have a total of 14 points. They can still climb up to the top four spots if Royal Challengers Bangalore lose their last match against Gujarat Titans by a huge margin and Mumbai Indians lose their last match against Sunrisers Hyderabad too.

PBKS’s IPL 2023 campaign is over. They end in the eighth position with six wins and eight losses. They have a total of 12 points.