KXIP fast bowler Ankit Rajpoot achieved the best bowling figures of IPL 2018 on Thursday but his team ended up on the losing side at the end of the day against SRH owing to a batting collapse. Perhaps that's what prompted Rajpoot to say "IPL isn't easy".
Before Rajpoot's 5/14, Mumbai spinner Mayank Markande had the best figures of 4/23 in the ongoing season. But the 24-year-old KXIP bowler, who had taken a match-winning 2/23 against Delhi in Punjab's previous match, picked up from where he had left off at the Ferozshah Kotla Stadium. He snared at least one wicket in every over he bowled.
"I don't think IPL is easy. Everybody works hard and does well. (I was ) Getting help from the wicket and bowling it full. I planned and stuck to it. I was aided by the pace that I found. It was my day today, so I got five wickets," Rajpoot said.
Rajpoot's figures were second-best by an Indian pacer in the history of the IPL, behind Ishant Sharma's 5/12 in 2011. Rajpoot also became the first uncapped Indian to take five wickets in an IPL game.
But Punjab batting couldn't follow up on Rajpoot's bowling performance.
Chasing a paltry 133 to win on a terribly slow wicket at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, when Punjab openers KL Rahul and Chris Gayle took the team past the 50-run mark, it appeared their match to lose.
But they went from 55 for 0 to 119 all out in 19.2 overs to suffer a 13-run defeat.
"From where we were, we should have put this game away. It's disappointing. It was not the greatest of wickets, the ball stuck in it," said KXIP captain Ravichandran Ashwin after the game.
"It can happen in this format, we've been on a roll, but these kinds of things happen. We let ourselves down in the field as well, we could have been chasing 20-25 runs less," the Punjab skipper added.