After a strong start by Shaun Marsh and Adam Gilchrist, the KXIP middle-order failed to build on it. (BCCI)
Mohali: Following his team's eight-wicket drubbing at the hands of Rajasthan Royals on Thursday, Kings XI Punjab skipper Adam Gilchrist attributed the loss to the "slow and dry" track at the PCA Stadium.
Chasing 146 to win, Rajasthan raced home with an over to spare.
After a strong start by Shaun Marsh and Gilchrist, the KXIP middle-order failed to build on it.
"Yeah, we had that foundation laid, I think the wicket was particularly slow and dry in comparison with anything we have played here during previous year. So different conditions, Rajasthan bowlers adjusted to those a lot better than we did as a batting team," the 41-year-old Australian told reporters after the match.
While Rajasthan are sitting pretty with 18 points, KXIP have just five wins from twelve games and will have to win all their remaining four matches to give themselves a glimmer of a hope of making the play-offs stage.
Asked what was their target in mind, Gilchrist said, "We thought if we get to 150-160 it could be defendable, anything above 160 was going to be bonus, I thought. But their bowling line-up just really suited that (the wicket's slowness).
"They have got the bowlers, their bowling style is such that they know how to take pace off the ball and bowl massive off spinning deliveries that get into the wicket. They were skilled enough to do that and do that well, that restricted our batting. It made very hard to hit a boundary and then our bowling is more sort of used to the faster pace of wicket here and big bounce and carry."
Gilchrist said he was talking to Royals skipper Rahul Dravid when the game started and the latter felt he made "poor selection in not playing another spinner and someone else who can take the pace off the ball".
"In hindsight, we would probably rather look at bowling options that is more suited to slow wicket. We've got a couple of niggling injuries. I think the biggest factor in the game was their ability to take pace off the ball and execute those slow balls extremely well," Gilchrist pointed out.
Asked if David Hussey could have been used to exploit the slowness of the track, Gilchrist said, "We used eight overs of spin bowling anyway. By the time I used PC (Piyush Chawla) and Bipul (Sharma), they (Royals) just needed just about run a ball.
"I tried (R) Satish, he is a guy who can bowl little slower balls and try take pace off the ball. May be, I could have gone to (David) Hussey."
And about the strategy for the remaining games, he said, "Last two years we have been in the same scenario in the road to qualify. We had to win all the four games in a row to qualify and we did three in a row and lost the last one (previously). So it is a difficult challenge for us, but it is certainly not impossible.
"With these scenarios come some sort of calmness, we know what we have to do, we don't need to look at other results and how they go and we just got to do what we have to do and then we will check the net run rate and stuff, if we get those four victories."
About his return to run-scoring ways, he commented by saying, "I wouldn't necessarily say return to form, I just got a few runs. It was a naggy sort of wicket, never felt like you are really flowing. Rahane played beautifully, but nice to play again."
Gilchrist admitted that his team had failed to deliver as a unit in the batting department.
"Yeah, that is probably an appropriate criticism and a frustration for us that we haven't flowed as a batting group and built any real momentum and a couple of our wins out of five have been at the back of David Miller. I think that's criticism that isn't harsh in anyway, it's probably accurate."