IPL 2024: ‘Prabhsimran, Shashank, Ashutosh are positives from this season’, says PBKS Sanjay Bangar

Hyderabad:  Punjab Kings (PBKS) finished their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 campaign with a four-wicket defeat against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Sunday.

After opting to bat, Prabhsimran Singh hammered 71 runs in 45 balls, and supporting innings from Rilee Rossouw (49 off 24 balls), Atharva Taide (46 off 27 balls), and Jitesh Sharma (32 not out of 15 balls) helped the Kings post a challenging total of 215 for the Sunrisers.

But despite the tremendous batting performance, the Sunrisers were able to chase down the total with 5 balls to spare, and Punjab bowed out of the tournament with 10 points in 14 games.

Bangar said his side gave away a few extra runs in the powerplay overs on Sunday, which allowed Hyderabad to capitalize in the match.

“We had to win the powerplay against this lot because they have been batting well in the early overs. We also had a decent power play but could not contain them after getting the big wicket of Travis Head on the first ball. We could have bowled a little bit better, which would have meant that once the field spread out, then you could have applied a little more pressure. We gave 15-20 runs too many in the power play,” Bangar said.

Before the final game, Sam Curran, who had been the captain for the side since mid-April due to Shikhar Dhawan’s injury, had to return home for international duties, along with the explosive Jonny Bairstow. Liam Livingstone and Chris Woakes were also ruled out of the tournament, along with speedster Kagiso Rabada. Bangar spoke on the absence of international players throughout the season and opined that it was not the only reason that they were unable to get the right results.

“When we went into the auction, ECB had made it clear that all the players will be available. But the tournament was slightly extended, because of multiple reasons. Everybody was in a similar position and lost English players,” Bangar said.

“Even for us, we lost Livingstone with a niggle around his knee and ECB pulled him out. We would have ideally loved to play Nathan Ellis in this match as the wicket would have suited him perfectly, but he got a strain on his groin. Even Kagiso Rabada had an infection because of which he had to go back. So those things coupled together meant that when we came into the last two games, we were certainly short of players of international pedigree and experience. So that hurt us, but that’s not the sole reason why our season was below par,” he further added.

On being asked about the factors that did not work for his side, Bangar said that Punjab could have performed better on the home turf, and win those crucial matches in the middle of the season at the new PCA Stadium, Mullanpur.

“We could not adapt to the home conditions. We played seven away matches and out of those seven matches, we won four. And out of the seven home matches we managed to win just one match. So, if a team has to progress further in the tournament, certainly that is a worrying aspect,” the former India batter said.

“Those four home games that we lost back-to-back through the mid-season cost us. Some of them were very close. We lost by two runs against SRH and we were also in a great position against Mumbai. Some of the matches went right down to the wire. We could not win the crucial moments of those games. And because of that, we just found ourselves in the position that we are in. And if you leave a lot to be done towards the later half of the season, then it’s always a challenge,” he added.

But reflecting on his side’s overall performance, Bangar praised opener Prabhsimran along with Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma for making a name for themselves and described them as the positive aspects coming out of the season.

“Prabhsimran has been given a specific role to be positive upfront and that’s the way you want to capitalize the powerplay. If you look at his strike rate throughout, he was above 150 and that is the role for a player in that position. But you have to embrace that when you take those risks, some days, those risks are going to come off and days they are not,” he said.

“But if you look at the performances of the domestic batters – Prabhsimran or Shashank, as well as Ashutosh – the way he adapted to the finishers’ role, I think those are the real positives for us, as far as our season goes, in the batting department,” Bangar added.

Meanwhile, wicketkeeper-batter Jitesh Sharma, who was the stand-in captain on Sunday in place of Curran, praised the side for fighting hard in their final game of the season. “It was fun out there. The boys fought hard and we enjoyed ourselves a lot. It was a nice game without the overseas players. The discussion will not help till you imply on the ground. We have to play according to the wicket and plan accordingly,” he said.


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