Virender Sehwag believes the responsibility of the Punjab Kings' (PBKS) humiliating defeat to Rajasthan Royals (RR) on Tuesday should be pinned on their openers, Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul, and no.3 batsman Aiden Markram.
Speaking to Cricbuzz, Virender Sehwag said either one of Agarwal or Rahul should have finished the game after facing 30-plus balls in the match. He remarked that had Chris Gayle - who made way for Makram in the match - played and scored a half-century, he would not have let the team lose in the final over.
Virender Sehwag said:
"Singling out the player for defeat would be a bit difficult for this match. I would say that luck didn't favor them but still if we have to pick someone, it should be Mayank Agarwal. If you are in form and scoring runs then you should finish the game and not leave it on anyone else... I always talk about Ruturaj (Gaikwad), he scored 89 not out, played 20 overs, even played the last ball and hit a six which probably won the game for CSK."
The former India opener added:
"Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul should do the same because that is the responsibility of the top-3. The new batsman doesn't know much about the pitch or how to play on it but you are there for 40-50 balls. The team shouldn't lose like this. If it was for Chris Gayle, I guarantee that if he had scored 50-60, he wouldn't have let PBKS lose. He would have won the game for them."
PBKS cruised for the better part of their chase of 186 runs, with Agarwal scoring 67 off 43 deliveries and skipper Rahul, 49 off 33 balls. All that changed when the next two batsmen, Nicholas Pooran (32 off 22) and Markram (26* off 20), failed to rotate strike in the last two overs and let the team fall short by just two runs.
Virender Sehwag also pointed out how Markram made a huge blunder by not taking the strike back in the final over despite Kartik Tyagi's couple of wide-ish deliveries presenting the opportunity.
Virender Sehwag explained:
"He's not out on 26 and didn't play a single ball in the last over. He's an international player, a senior player, it was his right to reach out to the non-striker batsman and say that he has to run [to rotate strike] no matter where the ball goes. You should have taken the strike back because you have already played 20 deliveries. I believe that's another mistake."
He concluded by saying:
Such mistakes don't happen when MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma are at the crease. Even from the outside a message should be sent that the non-striker should somehow take the strike back. If he had reached there, Punjab would have won. Tyagi was brilliant in the last over but Markram was at fault too."
PBKS will now lock horns with Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Saturday in Sharjah.
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