After blowing completely cold in the first half of IPL 2020, Kings XI Punjab showed the remarkable potential to script a comeback. Alas, they lost the one match that counted the most, and KXIP were shown the exit door once following their nine-wicket defeat against Chennai Super Kings at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Looking back at their journey, skipper KL Rahul could only rue the missed opportunities as their hunt for a maiden IPL trophy continue.
Sunday's game was a must-win tie for KXIP, but they got off to a poor start losing their top order early in the innings before an unlikely Deepak Hooda powered Kings XI to 153 for six with his unbeaten half-century knock. Chennai, in reply, managed to amass 82 runs for the first wicket before a patient Ruturaj Gaikwad helped CSK bid adieu to the UAE with a big smile on their face.
"It is as simple as that. We didn't bat really well. Big pressure game and we expected 180-190 on the board, unfortunately we couldn't soak in the pressure and get a big total. Disappointed but that's how IPL goes. We didn't have results going our way in the first half. The team still felt we were playing good cricket," said Rahul.
Looking back at their journey, Rahul admitted the lack of intent from the batting and bowling unit in the first half of the campaign when KXIP managed only one win in seven games. They bounced back stronger in the second half to win five straight matches before succumbing to back-to-back defeats.
"We were patchy at times with the bowling and the batting didn't come together in the first half, we started doing well in the second half and really proud that we gave ourselves an opportunity to come into the top four. Unfortunate that today and yesterday's game didn't go our way but proud of the team. Hopefully come back stronger next year and forget this year. If you look back at it , we had a lot of games in our pocket but we couldn't get over the line. We only have ourselves to blame. At the start of the tournament, that short run has come back to bite us very hard. We all make mistakes and we have made a few this season. We need to accept it, learn from it and come back stronger," added Rahul.
KXIP's loss imply that Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders are still alive in the contest.