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KL Rahul: 'To win from the position we were in is phenomenal'

"I spent the last couple of years frustrating myself, trying to win games for my team; tonight it came out well in the end," says Pooran

Ravi Bishnoi leaps into the arms of Deepak Hooda after the win  •  Associated Press

Ravi Bishnoi leaps into the arms of Deepak Hooda after the win  •  Associated Press

After a see-sawing contest, Lucknow Super Giants beat Royal Challengers Bangalore amid high drama, and KL Rahul credited their lower-middle order of Nicholas Pooran, Marcus Stoinis and Ayush Badoni for the two points they earned in their first win away from home in IPL 2023.
The Royal Challengers bowlers had reduced Super Giants to 23 for 3 in four overs, but Stoinis' 30-ball 65 gave them a platform, from which Pooran's 19-ball 62 and Badoni's 24-ball 30 took them to the doorstep of victory.
"In T20s, I think that's the most important batting position - Nos. 5, 6 and 7," Rahul told the broadcaster after the one-wicket win. "That's where the crunch games are won. Yes, your top order will do the bulk of the scoring in a big tournament like this but it is those boys who win you big games.
"That is why we have invested in the power of Pooran, Stoinis and Ayush. Ayush is a youngster who is learning the art of finishing games and being there at the end. He has done it a couple of times last season and this season too. He is growing into that role and I'm excited in him becoming better in that position. That will give our team extra power with that skill as well."
But the game was not decided till the final delivery of the match.
Badoni fell in the 19th over, followed by Mark Wood and Jaydev Unadkat being dismissed in the final over, which started with Super Giants needing five to win with three wickets in hand.
Then with scores tied, and one ball to go and Super Giants nine down, there was drama of unparalleled proportions. Harshal Patel ran in and tried to run out non-striker Ravi Bishnoi, who had taken off in a bid to steal the all-important single, but he missed dislodging the stumps, and even though he did throw down at the poles later with Bishnoi still out of his crease. The umpire Anil Chaudhary, though, called it not out since the ball had gone dead when Harshal had ran a few yards down the pitch before turning and aiming for the stumps.
When Harshal finally bowled the last ball, No. 11 Avesh Khan missed and the batters scampered. But wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik fumbled twice and then missed in his shy at the stumps (on both ends).
"Unbelievable! This is Chinnaswamy - I have grown up here, I know that this is the only venue in the country to produce so many last-ball finishes," Rahul said. "To win from the position we were in is phenomenal."

Faf du Plessis: 'We tried everything'

Royal Challengers captain Faf du Plessis, who top-scored with 79 alongside fifties from Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell to post 212 in the first innings, said that he "fancied" his side's chances of taking the game into a super over.
"Obviously they played really well but we fought back beautifully. And then that last over, one off one ball, I fancied our chances of getting a run-out there," he said. "Looking at the wicket, certainly we felt, when we were batting, it was quite slow between overs 7 to 14. Little bit dry. Then as the innings went in the last five overs I think maybe there was bit more moisture and the ball started skidding better, and that was the case right through the second innings. Really nice to bat on, really nice for good cricket shots. Marcus Stoinis and Nicholas Pooran didn't miss the middle.
"We tried everything. We threw all our weapons at them, but they took on one of our strong bowlers, Harshal Patel, in his first two overs. Took him for quite a bit of runs in the first two overs. Then he came back beautifully. We were there and thereabouts to bring the game down to the last over from where they were. Thought it was a good fight from us. It is a difficult place to bowl at the death, you have to be really on top of your game with the ball."

Nicholas Pooran: 'It was about cashing in

The game had changed some time before that, courtesy Pooran. He struck seven sixes and four fours in his 19-ball 62 and also got the joint-third-fastest IPL fifty. Along with Badoni, he added 84 in 35 balls for the sixth wicket. After collecting his Player-of-the-Match award, Pooran credited the earlier partnership between Stoinis and Rahul that started the initial liftoff before he took over.
"Stoinis played really well. It kept us in the game," he said. "We felt like we can chase 15 runs an over. We knew that in the back end of the innings it gets much easier, the pressure is on. The wicket was really nice to bat [on]. It was about cashing in, getting in the right positions and executing.
"I was reacting tonight, and I have been working really hard on my game, and this is how I want to be. I spent the last couple of years frustrating myself, trying to win games for my team; tonight obviously it came out well in the end. I want to win games for my team, and I have been working really hard on it. Just happy that tonight we could get that victory."

Marcus Stoinis: 'We bowled really well in the powerplay'

Stoinis credited spinners Ravi Bishnoi and Krunal Pandya for restricting Royal Challengers to 212 despite losing only two wickets.
"I actually think we bowled really well in the powerplay," Stoinis said after the game. "There was beautiful batting from Virat and Faf, some of those shots you don't see every day. I thought we bowled okay in the powerplay and our spinners bowled beautifully. History suggests that 200 is pretty much par a lot of the time."
Maxwell, too, said after the first innings that the spinners' efforts through the middle overs sucked the momentum out of their batting for a brief period. In a game of close margins, that proved important in the end.
"There was a little bit of variable bounce. Ball was staying a bit low from back of a length," Maxwell said at the halfway point. "Bit dry from the other night, there was little bit variable bounce. Spinners were able to bowl back of a length. Thought Bishnoi and Krunal bowled extremely well after the first few overs and probably kept us back after an electric powerplay."