Lucknow Super Giants skipper KL Rahul kept the team's hopes alive against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Eliminator at Eden Gardens Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday. Image Credit: Courtesy: BCCI

Dubai: KL Rahul’s dream run of leading his new franchise Lucknow Super Giants came to a disappointing end when his team crashed out to Royal Challengers Banglore in the Eliminator after a narrow 14-run loss at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday. As long as he was there at the crease, Lucknow Super Giants believed he could take his team past the huge total of 207 set by Banglore, but once he fell to Josh Hazelwood, his team could not get past the finishing line.

When he started this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), he was the most expensive player in the history of IPL bought at Rs170 million by Lucknow and started his first knock with a duck against Gujarat Titans. But he found his rhythm in the next games and scored four half centuries and two hundreds and became the first player to score more than 600 runs in four seasons, but sadly this was not good enough for him to get his hand in the elusive cup. In spite of scoring 79 runs, he received flak for being slow to begin his innings while chasing the massive target of 208 set by Banglore.

Death overs by Patel

But what does a captain do in a situation where the batting revolves around him and his fellow opening partner Quinton de Kock? And when Quinton fell early he had to bat deep, which was the right thing. He did get support from Deepak Hooda, who scored 45 quick runs, but once he fell, Marcus Stoinis and Evin Lewis batted 15 balls between them scoring just 11 runs and the pressure fell on the skipper. Lucknow required 65 in the last five overs with seven wickets in hand and in today’s T20 format, it was possible. But credit to Banglore bowler Harshal Patel, who bowled very well at the death to stop Rahul from getting across the target.

Two mistakes cost Rahul the game — one was dropping an experienced player like Jason Holder, second and the most important to decide to chase in a knockout game. His team had won more games defending the target than chasing and in a knockout game where there is no second chance, Rahul should have taken the bold decision to bat first. Who knows what would have happened, but the hard fact is, to win an IPL title, you need to take the right decisions and get the support from the team, as has been in the case of Gujarat Titans, who in their first season has one player or the other putting their hands up and taking the team to victory.