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We are still in the play-offs race, says PBKS pacer Harshal Patel after CSK defeat

Punjab Kings went down by 28 points against five-time winners Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League match on Sunday. However, speedster Harshal Patel believes they are still in the race for the play-off spots.

After opting to bowl, Punjab restricted CSK to 167/9 thanks to stellar spells from Rahul Chahar and Harshal Patel at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium here.

While the leg-spinner posted figures of 3-23 in his 4 overs at an economy rate of 5.8, Harshal gave away just 24 runs and also picked up 3 wickets in his 4 overs, maintaining an economy rate of 6.

But despite the spectacular bowling performance, Punjab fell short of the target and could not register their third straight win. Despite the result, Harshal claimed that the team still had a chance to make it to the play-offs.

“We just have to play good cricket. As far as the play-off race is concerned, in the 13 years of playing IPL, I have never seen a team get out of the play-offs race or qualify before 13-14 matches have been played. We are still in the race.” and as a team we know that when we play high quality cricket and everyone knows their job well, we know we can beat any team on any ground,” the right-arm fast bowler said at the post-match press conference.

Stand-in skipper Sam Curran also praised the bowling unit after the match, saying it was a tough batting pitch.

“I thought we bowled really well. Rahul Chahar and Harshal were great, I was quite happy at half-off but unfortunately that wasn’t the intention. The wicket was probably slower than we thought, we expected a little more pace and bounce. was pretty much the same throughout the match,” Curran said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

Punjab lost two early wickets, with the in-form Jonny Bairstow and Rilee Rossouw bowing out within the first two overs. But Shashank Singh and Prabhsimran Singh kept their hopes alive with a solid partnership of 53 runs.

“I think with that opening spell we were still in the match when Prabhsimran Singh and Shashank Singh were batting. Although we lost two early wickets, we recovered with Prabhsimran and Shashank in the middle during the powerplay. I think we were quite aware. If we had made better choices on which bowlers to target, we could have had a different conclusion to the game,” the 33-year-old said.

Punjab will next take on Royal Challengers Bangalore at the same venue under the lights, and Harshal opened up the lessons for his side ahead of the crucial next match.

“I think going into this match we thought this would be a high scoring venue because of the size of the boundary. Usually this pitch has a lot of speed and bounce. But it wasn’t like that, especially today not. The next game we play will be a night game. So it might be a little bit different and we might see another 30-40 runs on the surface.

“The lesson we have learned is that if we bowl at a hard length, close to the stumps, and keep the stumps in play at all times, there is plenty of reward for bowlers and hitting is difficult from that length,” he said.

Meanwhile, during the match in Dharamsala on Sunday, Rs 40 lakh was raised to support girls’ education. The M3M Foundation, in association with Shikhar Dhawan Foundation, has provided support to women for vocational education and Rs 5 Lakh will be donated for every 25 runs scored and 3 wickets taken by Punjab Kings in their home matches.

Through this initiative, the organization aims to provide vocational education support to 111 girls for up to Rs. 5 lakh, for a total amount of Rs. 5.55 crore in the next five years.

Punjab Kings will next take on Royal Challengers Bengaluru on Thursday (May 9).