Kolkata, May 5: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) left-arm spinner Axar Patel feels they were on course for a win till things went horribly wrong in the last over when they lost three wickets to concede defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League 2016 (IPL 9).
After Glenn Maxwell's 42-ball 68, Axar brightened KXIP's hopes in a 165-run chase with his 21-run cameo off seven balls, but Russell's tight last over meant that they fell short by seven runs as KKR reclaimed the top spot. (We bowled like champions: Russell)
"Russell did well in the fielding and ran me out, we lost three wickets in the last over and the match got of our hands," Axar told reporters at the post-match press conference.
"We were satisfied with our bowling, the target was within our reach. We also did well in the death overs. We were keeping in mind a target of about 170-175. But it was difficult to recover from being three down (in 3.1 overs) and the run rate slowed down. If you don't have wickets in hand, you feel the pressure in the end."
"We got off to a wrong start. It brought our downfall. But when we started building a partnership, they fielded well and the match got out of our hands."
Asked about the mood in the camp, he said: "Obviously, team morale goes down when you start losing. It was a close finish but we were on a high after beating Gujarat Lions in the previous match.
"There's not much of a change but you don't enjoy the dressing room environment. Everyone tries to stay relax as it's a long tournament. It's not that you're out of contention after a few losses. We try to relax so that we can concentrate on our next match and give 100 per cent."
He further stressed the IPL was a great opportunity for Indian youngsters. "IPL gives a very good opportunity to the youngsters and the Indian players. I also got picked for the Indian team for the first time after playing in the IPL. It's crucial for every youngster as nobody is seen properly in Ranji matches. But here your performances are noticed widely and you get an opportunity."
"I don't think too far ahead and try to concentrate on my strengths as a bowler and batsman. I'm just taking one game at a time to boost my confidence. I try to focus on my strengths, try to focus on slow ball and bowl in the right areas."