IPL 2023: Anil Kumble Full Of Praise For Punjab Kings ‘Finisher’ Shahrukh Khan

Punjab Kings went into the Bharat Ranta Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Stadium in Lucknow for an evening contest with the Lucknow Super Giants and walked out a victorious side in a close contest.

The Super Giants were led by KL Rahul, who scored 74 runs (56b, 8×4, 1×6) to help them set a target of 160 runs. Sam Curran, who was leading the Kings in the absence of Shikhar Dhawan, was the pick of the bowlers and picked up three wickets.

The Kings chased this down the target with 3 deliveries to spare, catapulted to the win by Sikander Raza’s first IPL half century (57, 41b, 4×4, 3×6) and a fiery unbeaten 23 off 10 balls by Shahrukh Khan.

Shahrukh Khan’s all-around performance for the Punjab Kings wasn’t forgotten, as JioCinema TATA IPL expert Kumble complimented the fielding exploits especially the catches in the deep from Khan in the win.

“I think Punjab was very impressive on the field. The ground fielding was good but the catching was brilliant, especially from Shahrukh in the deep, it’s not easy because you’re not only looking to get under the ball but also worried about the line there. It was brilliant,” Kumble said.

Kumble, who was previously a part of Punjab Kings himself went on to heap more praise onto Khan for his performance with the bat, showcasing his ability as a finisher in the limited overs format.

“He is a finisher. That is what he does for Tamil Nadu in the games he’s played for them and it was really nice to see him finish things off. In the previous game as well, he had a cameo right at the end. But this one was under pressure,” Kumble added.

“They had to get almost 10 runs an over in the last two overs, with Harpreet Brar on the other end and Skiander Raza got out in the previous over. That was a well-made 23 to finish things off for Punjab. This will give him a lot of confidence going into the latter half of the tournament.”

The Kings saw Raza put up a crucial shift with the bat to chase the target down successfully, leading to JioCinema IPL expert Parthiv Patel praising him for leading Punjab to the win.

“You need an experienced batsman, especially in a chase like this. Shikhar Dhawan wasn’t playing and they needed a batter to control the match and somebody who knew when to turn an over into a big one, if there is an opportunity,” Patel said.

“He knew there was an opportunity to hit big shots in the over by Krunal Pandya and he did exactly that. He kept on taking singles and whenever there was an opportunity, went for the big shots as well.”

The former India wicketkeeper Patel also recalled Raza’s exploits on the international stage in recent years, “The last few years, the way he’s been batting on the international stage, I think it was a matter of time before he came here and performed well.”

Punjab Kings will next be in action at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali to take on Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday (April 20). The Kings will be hopeful of Dhawan’s return for the match.

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