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'I don't know how this happened' - Rahul left stunned after improbable defeat

"We had the game in our pockets and we let it slip," Rahul says after LSG failed to get 31 runs from 36 balls with nine wickets in hand

A visibly stunned KL Rahul could "not put a finger on" how and why and when Lucknow Super Giants lost what was, for the longest time, their game for the taking against Gujarat Titans.
"I don't know how this happened and it has happened so fast, but yeah, that's cricket, it keeps reminding us that the game is never won till the last ball," Rahul said after Mohit Sharma bowled a final over that cost just four runs - and accounted for four wickets - to give Titans a seven-run win. "I still can't put a finger on it and say where we went wrong, but it is what it is, we've lost two points. We had the game in our pockets and we let it slip.
"I just have to accept and take it as it is. It is a game and these things keep happening but this is going to sting us for a while. We will try and come back strong."
Chasing 136, Super Giants were placed comfortably 105 for 1 at the end of the 14th over, requiring 31 to win off 36 balls. Rahul was past his half-century, while Krunal Pandya seemed comfortable and two points seemed a formality.
Until it wasn't. Noor Ahmad struck twice, before Mohit and Mohammed Shami kept their composure and Titans snatched a win out of nowhere.
Earlier, Rahul got Super Giants off to a flyer in the chase. He scored his first 46 runs off 30 balls, but it took him 31 balls to score his next 22. Super Giants failed to score a single boundary in the last 45 balls of the chase.
Rahul admitted that he should have "taken his chances" earlier.
"[I] obviously wasn't trying to bat really deep, but still trying to play my shots, still trying to take on the bowlers I fancy," Rahul said. "They bowled quite well in the two-or-three-over period between Noor and Jayant [Yadav]. And probably we should have taken a couple of more chances. We had a few wickets in hand but, look, it wasn't an easy wicket for the batters to come in and get going straight away. Set batter - you obviously want them to play and finish the game for you.
"That was my mindset, but I should have taken a few more chances or just had to get a few off the middle of the bat.
"In the end, they did bowl decently, but I think we missed out on some boundary opportunities. That's the only thing that really went wrong in the 40 overs that we played. In the last three to four overs, the pressure really got to us. They bowled some good balls, they bowled some good overs, but still we should have gotten it done."
Hardik Pandya, the Titans captain, was as baffled as his counterpart after winning a game his team looked out of.
"The amount of cricket Mo [Mohit] has played, I don't think I needed to interfere. The amount of execution and clarity and calmness he showed, it made my life very easy," Hardik said. "I threw the ball and I said 'back yourself'. At the same time, the over [Mohammed] Shami bowled, it showed his experience.
"Mohit and Shami were tremendous. The credit is actually to them, the kind of pullback that they did, and special mention to Jayant [Yadav] as well."
Rahul was effusive in praise of his bowlers, and despite the loss, he wanted his team to take the positives and bounce back strong.
"We were quite brilliant [with the ball]; 135 is probably par or just ten under par and we bowled really well," he said. "We know these conditions and we utilised them really well. The bowlers were very clear with their plans and the execution was spot on.
"We are still doing a lot of things right. We are still eight points out of seven games that we have played. We are still good as a team. There is nothing to question about our attitude and how we are playing our cricket. It is really a good team but these things happen. Sometimes you are on the wrong side."