R Ashwin is hopeful that the likes of Aaron Finch, Karun Nair and Mayank Agarwal will find form as Kings XI Punjab look to win their remaining two matches against defending champions Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings to qualify for IPL 2018 play-offs. Ashwin said that ‘good players come good at big moments’, something he experienced during his time with CSK.
“The best thing is to forget the 12 games. I’ve been in a team like CSK where we used to do this all the time. We had batsmen who found the going tough throughout the tournament but went on to score a 90-odd in the final. That’s how it goes,” Ashwin said after Kings XI Punjab’s loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Holkar Stadium here on Monday.
Leaving openers KL Rahul and Chris Gayle, no other KXIP batsman has shown stomach for a fight and this has been one of the major factors why they have lost five of their last six games.
Against RCB, Rahul and Gayle put on a 36-run stand but their departure led to a collapse as KXIP were knocked over for 88, their lowest total this season. Except Finch, Nair, Agarwal and Marcus Stoinis couldn’t even cross the double figures. Virat Kohli’s side eventually won the match by 10 wickets.
While Ashwin accepted his team’s frailties, he said there is no reason why KXIP can’t make a comeback.
“I think we were very poor. It was a day when nothing clicked for us. But that happens,” said Ashwin.
“To be honest, we haven’t been one of the top champion sides in IPL. We actually punched way above our weight in the first half of the competition (this year). But things haven’t gone our way in the last few games. To be precise, I didn’t expect this. But I think it’s time for everyone to step up. We have lost three in a row. Mumbai is a place where there’s a lot of bounce and generally the foreign batsmen love it. So I’m confident we will bounce back.
“We are desperate. Any team can be dangerous they are desperate,” he added.
Asked about Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who missed the game against RCB after being hit on his bowling hand in the match against Kolkata Knight Riders, Ashwin said: “His injury is quite serious. We will assess his fitness before the next match.”