IPL: The wicket helped us, says Punjab Kings’ pacer Sandeep

NAVI MUMBAI: Punjab Kings pacer Sandeep Sharma said that the DY Patil track, which was “sticky” in the beginning helped their bowlers in the IPL game against Gujarat Titans, which they won by eight wickets. First South African pacer Kagiso Rabada snared four wickets to restrict Gujarat Titans to a below-par 143 for eight and then Punjab rode on flamboyant opener Shikhar Dhawan’s unbeaten 62 to chase the target with 24 balls to spare.

“Today the wicket (the track) also helped us. It was sticky in the beginning, which helped the new ball to move and the ball was holding on the wicket,” Sharma, who returned with figures of 0/17, said at the post-match press conference.

“We wanted to execute the plans that we had discussed with (head coach) Anil (Kumble) Sir and we were lucky that it happened today (last night),” said Sharma. Sharma also felt that the Punjab bowlers came with the mindset of executing their plans and they bowled well throughout the innings. “We bowled well in all the overs. We have very experienced bowlers in our team who have played in the league. So we wanted to execute the plans and if they got a partnership, we should stick to the plan in pressure moments,” he said.

The win helped Punjab jump to the fifth spot and according to Sharma, the Mayank Agarwal-led team is focusing on one game at a time from now.

“Now all the matches are crucial for us. But more important is that we take one game at a time, like we mentally prepared for this match and came with a positive mindset and similarly we go into the next game. And we will try to execute the plans.

“Yes, we have a good team, we lost two close matches, had we won that, we would have been better on the points table. As a group, we have left that behind and are focusing on the next four games, one by one,” he signed off. Miller rues tumbling of regular wickets for loss and dew factorMeanwhile, Gujarat Titans’ batter David Miller, who managed just 11 runs, rued the loss of regular wickets for the loss along with the dew factor.

“It is difficult when you are losing wickets throughout. In the first 10 overs, we were under the pump and there were one or two brilliant moments from the Kings, with (Shubman) Gill getting run out with a direct hit,” he said. According to Miller, Gujarat Titans didn’t score enough runs.

“We didn’t put enough runs on the board. It was a tough loss but something that we are going to dissect and talk about as a team going forward,” the left-handed batter added. He also said that the bowlers wanted to take the game as deep as possible but Liam Livingstone turned the game on its head with his brutal hitting.

“There is obviously a lot of dew out there, so bowling with a wet ball and the ball does skid on in the evening, so it was quite challenging to defend that (score). “But our plan towards bowling in the back end was to try and take the game as deep as possible, but (Liam) Livingstone came in and played that knock in one over, that changed the game,” he added.

Livingstone, who made a brisk 30 went hammer and tongs on senior India speedster Mohammed Shami, hitting him for three sixes and two boundaries, that finished the game in the 16th over.