Crestfallen after losing their IPL opener, Kings XI Punjab batsman Mayank Agarwal said it feels terrible to not close off the game after making a stupendous comeback against Delhi Capitals.
Chasing 158 to win, Kings XI were struggling at 55 for 5, until Agarwal turned it around with a fine counter-attack after a slow start. He made his IPL best of 89 and fell with Kings XI needing one run off the final ball. Then, Marcus Stoinis, who had effected a sensational turnaround with the bat for Delhi Capitals, forced the match into a Super Over by dismissing Chris Jordan off the last ball.
"We had a tough day," Agarwal told KXIP TV. "There are a lot of positives to take out. The way we came back was fantastic, the way we bowled with the new ball was terrific. It really hurts to not close off the game from the situation we were in, feels terrible.
"This is just the first game. We can get things rolling again. Let's see how we will go in the coming games. I think to play a game like that first up was fantastic. Everyone was up for it. The guys really put in the effort. Definitely, we should have finished the game when we needed one run."
Agarwal also observed the target - albeit 20-25 more than what Kings XI looked like chasing - was still gettable. "It was a par score and going into the break, we knew that if we can stitch a partnership and not give them wickets with the new ball, we could win the game," Agarwal said. "We batted extremely well to reach there. I don't know what to say (about the final moments)."
Agarwal also praised Stoinis for his 21-ball 53 that helped Capitals smash 57 off the last three overs. Stoinis was particularly harsh on Chris Jordan, who was hit for two sixes and three four in an over that went for 30 runs. "Stoinis batted extremely well," Agarwal said. "Even if we made a little mistake, he took us apart. So credit to him and he had a great game and he did really did well for them at the death."
Axar Patel, the Capitals left-arm spinner, was equally effusive in his praise Stoinis. Patel himself had an excellent outing, keeping a lid on the scoring with his loopy variations - something he's only developed recently - after R Ashwin had to go off the field with an injured shoulder. Patel finished with creditable figures of 1 for 14 off his four overs.
"If the team wants to go with six bowlers then you need an all-rounder and if he can contribute with both bat and ball it's really good for the team," Patel said. "Stoinis performing like this in the first game itself means we don't have to change our strategy too much. It's good we won the Super Over and the morale is high in the dressing room."