Mohali: Handed a shock defeat by tournament laggards Mumbai Indians, Kings XI Punjab coach Sanjay Bangar feels the failure to capitalise on a good start cost his side the IPL game here on Wednesday.
Having set a target of 157, Mumbai Indians won the game comfortably by seven wickets riding on an unbeaten 61-ball 100 by their West Indian import and opener Lendl Simmons.
Speaking to reporters at the post-match press conference here last night, Bangar was asked to comment what went wrong for the team, which had nine victories from 11 games before coming in to this match.
"Definitely, I think in the middle overs we threw it away a bit as after ten overs we were going at around 90 for the loss of a wicket. In the middle overs, we lost it," the former India all-rounder pointed out.
The wickets of well-set and dangerous-looking Shaun Marsh (30) when Kings XI were crusing at 87 for one followed by twin strikes in the 11th over by Shreyas Gopal helped the visitors put a brake on the run scoring.
"It`s just four-five overs in the middle, like Shreyas bowled and also Pragyan (he slowed the KXIP scoring). They (Kings) got three wickets in those five overs and that really set us back as the batsmen to follow couldn`t really play with the freedom they would have liked to," Bangar said, adding the team ultimately felt short by at least 15 runs.
At the same time, he added that full credit should be given to Simmons.
"But you also got to give a lot of credit to the way Lendl Simmons batted and got 100 from 61 balls. He did really well. The fact that he saw his side through and that is something we as a batting unit would like to do."
Asked if KXIP, which has emerged as the top team of the tournament so far, has settled down on their best eleven for the play-offs, Bangar said, "obviously, we are trying out a few things."
"Also, the final standings of the league table are not yet out so we are not sure we will be playing at which venue as that all depends on how the upcoming matches go. But we are prepared for all eventualities and all the venues.
"From that perspective, we are trying out a few things and I think that will only help us when we make the decision on the team composition for that crucial game," he added.
Asked if Shaun Marsh, who made his maiden appearance last night, will play the rest of the matches, Bangar indicated the Aussie will feature in the upcoming games.
"Yeah, definitely. I have always believed whenever you give a chance to a player that has to be in continuation for 2-3 games at a stretch so that he can offer what he has to offer and that is the policy that we are trying to have."
While batting has been the side`s main strength, Bangar had a word of praise for his bowlers as well.
"All said and done, you see Sandeep Sharma with 17 wickets, Balaji sitting on 11 wickets, Akshar and Rishi again are bowling with good economy and getting wickets at the same time."
To another question, he said that after a loss, there are certain areas on which the team has to work on.
"We have nine victories from 12 games and that is good enough achievement," he added.
Kings XI have their remaining two games before play-off against Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils, both of which will be played at Mohali.