While numbers clearly suggest a massive concern over KL Rahul‘s batting in the ongoing IPL 2020 amid a few voices from veterans, Kings XI Punjab captain has brushed aside such talks saying that strike rates can at times be misleading. The 13th edition of the tournament has witnessed Rahul’s sluggish batting nature owing to a thing batting lineup with resulted in KXIP sending Mujeeb Ur Rahman at No.7 against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday.
Rahul leads the run-scoring charts this season with 313 runs in six innings at an average of 62.60 and a strike rate of 136.68. Yet, what has stood out as a major concern in his batting has been his scoring rate in the powerplays – 113.3. At a high-scoring Sharjah Cricket Stadium against Rajasthan Royals, Rahul scored 54-ball 69. Previously, in the game against Chennai Super Kings, Rahul made 63 off 52 balls. And on Thursday, he managed only 11 off 16 balls. All resulted in a defeat, leaving KXIP in the bottom of the points table with one win from six matches.
“Strike-rates are very, very overrated,” Rahul said after the game. “For me, it’s only about how I can win games for my team. And if on a certain day I think a strike-rate of 120 can win the game for my team, I will do that. This is how I bat and I would like to take responsibility as a leader. We all make mistakes, I’m not saying I have not made a few mistakes but you learn each day as a leader, as a batter.
“It’s a partnership. When we are out in the middle as a batting group, every player has a role in the team and those roles can change in the middle with each game so I try to do the best I can for the team, try and assess the situation and play according to that. For me at the end of the day, I need to walk out of the ground knowing that I’ve tried to win the game.”
Probably KXIP can look to bring back Chris Gayle, who, as per head coach Anil Kumble was slated to make his debut this season before being down to an illness. Gayle’s presence can help KXIP with a free-scoring opening pair with Rahul coming in at No.3. Rahul is also very good at the death overs as we have seen in IPL matches and for India of late.
KXIP’s next in the lineup would be an in-form Nicholas Pooran who scored a 17-ball 50 on Thursday. “The way he has been batting, even in the last season we had glimpses of how good a player he is,” Rahul pointed out. “We have been having a lot of chats. He is someone who is very keen on being a match-winner for us.
“Until the time he was there, he gave us a lot of hope and made the opposition uncomfortable. If three or four of us with our skills can come together (we can win), we have been fielding well, we have shown a lot of heart. There are a lot of positives, the points table doesn’t suggest that. The execution can go wrong but we need to be patient with the team. We need to keep believing that we are just a few wins away and this team will start looking good.”
KXIP will next play against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.