Dhawan pulls up Punjab quicks for not bowling to plan

Dhawan pulls up Punjab quicks for not bowling to plan

Shikhar Dhawan, the Punjab Kings captain now left hoping for other results to go their way to make the playoffs of IPL 2023, rued the lack of execution from his bowlers as they were bested by Delhi Capitals in Dharamsala on Wednesday.

In conditions that offered help for the quick bowlers, the Kings were unable to close out the powerplay properly. Sam Curran, Kagiso Rabada, Arshdeep Singh and Nathan Ellis were hit for seven fours and three sixes between the third and sixth overs. Capitals benefited from that period of profligacy, going from 11 for 0 to 61 for 0 in just 20 balls.

“We didn’t bowl really well in the first six overs,” Dhawan said at the presentation. “We should’ve taken some wickets out there, the way the pitch was offering the swing.”

Capitals posted 213 for 2 and won a tight game by 15 runs.

Kings have had a particularly difficult time bowling in the first six overs this season. They have taken a mere 14 wickets in this phase of play – the second worst in the league behind Lucknow Super Giants – while also conceding 9.20 an over – again the second worst behind Kolkata Knight Riders.

“Our bowlers didn’t pitch the ball up, whereas they should have been,” Dhawan said. “That was the plan. Unfortunately they couldn’t implement it. Whether we take wickets or not, that’s a different thing. But we should bowl in the right areas, which we have not been doing for quite a long time and that’s hurting us because in powerplay we are always giving 50-60 runs. And that’s fine but we should be taking wickets as well.”

Dhawan’s concern over his quick bowlers’ performance forced him to take a big call at the death. He brought left-arm spinner Harpreet Brar into the attack in the 16th over and had him bowl the 18th and the 20th as well. This was a time when the Capitals had a well-set left-hander at the crease as well and with many of the balls spinning into him, Rilee Rossouw took full toll, especially in the final over, which yielded 23 runs and pushed Capitals’ total above 200.

“Even my decision of bowling the spinner in the last over backfired,” Dhawan said. “I feel the momentum went there. Before that also, my fast bowler [Ellis] also got hit for 18 runs [in the 19th over]. Those two overs cost us the game.”

Kings are only barely hanging on in the IPL. They have 12 points and a game in hand, which means they can get to a maximum of 14. But their rivals – Chennai Super Kings, Lucknow Super Giants and Mumbai Indians – are already on 14 points or more with a game in hand. And, Royal Challengers Bangalore have 12 points and two games in hand along with a healthy net run-rate. Dhawan’s men will need several results to go their way to make it to the final four.

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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