“Him bowling fast was a positive…”: LSG skipper KL Rahul backs debutant Shamar after KKR loss

Following his side’s eight-wicket loss to KKR in their Indian Premier League match, Lucknow Super Giants skipper KL Rahul backed debutant West Indies pacer Shamar Joseph, saying that the bowler bowling fast in good areas was a positive, but anyone could get overwhelmed by the excitement of making his first appearance in the cash-rich league.

However, Shamar’s debut was underwhelming. After making headlines with a seven-wicket haul in a winning effort against Australia at the Gabba, the West Indies pacer struggled with consistency and gave away a good amount of runs through wides and no balls. He ended with figures of 47/0, out of which 22 runs came in the first over itself, which included many extras.

Backing the young Caribbean pacer, KL said during the post-match presentation, “That was a positive, he was bowling very quick. It was his first game of the IPL, you can get excited, and Shamar was very excited and just wanted to bowl fast, sprayed the ball around a bit but that can happen with anyone. The positive was he was bowling very quick and he got the ball to nip around. He hit some good areas but obviously, he has to work on his consistency and the choice of balls he bowls.”

The skipper termed his team’s loss as a “proper hammering” and talking about the reasons behind the defeat, he elaborated,

“Every team in the IPL goes through a game like that. Not going to sit too much and think about it. Will go back, work out where we went wrong and bounce back better. I think it was the other way around. The ball started nipping around a lot more after the lights came on. I cannot say we played bad shots but the shots we played, we did not execute well. We kept losing wickets in bunches and we left about 30 runs out there. If we kept wickets in our hand, and had one of our top three-four batted for more overs, we could have got a lot more runs. That is where I think we lost the game. With the ball, it was nipping around. We got a few wickets but leaked too many boundaries.”

Reflecting on team’s back-to-back losses to Delhi Capitals and KKR, KL said, “Not panicking but you cannot put your feet up and hope results go your way. We have to figure out where you are going wrong. We will have a few difficult conversations. The last couple of games, we have not been able to get more than 160 and that is something to think about, and see how we can get to the 180-200 run mark.”

Coming to the match, KKR opted to field first after winning the toss. Despite skipper KL Rahul’s 39 in 27 balls, with three fours and two sixes, Lucknow was 95/4 in 11.4 overs as he did not get much support from other batters. A calm, composed 29 in 27 balls, with two fours and a six by Ayush Badoni and fine finishing by Nicholas Pooran, who scored 45 in 32 balls, with two fours and four sixes, guided LSG to 161/7 in 20 overs.

Mitchell Starc came good for KKR and was the pick of the bowlers. Vaibhav Arora, Varun Chakravarthy and the West Indies pair of Sunil Narine and Andre Russell got a wicket each.

In the run-chase, KKR lost Narine and Angkrish Raghuvanshi early. But Phil Salt launched an all-out assault on LSG bowlers, scoring 89* in 47 balls, with 12 fours and three sixes. His 120-run partnership with skipper Shreyas Iyer helped KKR chase down the total with eight wickets and 26 balls in hand. Salt took home the ‘Player of the Match’ award.

KKR is in the second spot, with four wins and a loss in five matches. It gives them a total of eight points. LSG is in the fifth spot with three wins and three losses, giving them six points.

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