Virender Sehwag, Kings XI Punjab's director of cricket operations, wasn't a happy man after his side failed to qualify for the Indian Premier League play-offs. Punjab were crushed in a do-or-die contest by Rising Pune Supergiant at Maharashtra Cricket Association's International Stadium in Pune on Sunday. KXIP were bundled out for a paltry 73 runs by RPS, who then went on to chase the target in 12 overs to finish second in the eight-team table with 18 points. Young Rahul Tripathi blasted 28 off 20 balls to make a mockery of the chase in an encounter which turned out to be an anti-climax of sorts.
"I'm very disappointed," Viru said in the post-match press conference. "I can say that none of the foreign players took responsibility and at least played 12 to 15 overs. Their role was at least one of the top four should bat for 12 to 15 overs, but none of the batsmen took the responsibility.
"I think they were complaining that the wicket was a bit slow but when you play international cricket so much, you should get used to playing on difficult or good wickets. There are very rare occasions when you get a good wicket to bat on but whatever wicket you get, you have to play at least 20 overs for your side. But Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Guptill and Morgan [were all disappointing]."
Put into bat, Kings XI Punjab put up their worst batting performance of the season when it mattered the most.
Martin Guptill (0) uppishly drove to Manoj Tiwary at short cover off the very first delivery from Unadkat.
Shaun Marsh (13) hit a couple of boundaries before he failed to clear Steve Smith at mid-off. He didn't fully commit to the drive and failed to get the elevation.
"Guptill's role was to cash in during the Powerplay and [the other opener] Wriddhiman Saha's was to just bat around with him," the former India batsman said. "So I don't mind him getting out on the first or second ball as long as he knows what he's doing. There's no point blaming him; I should rather blame the other batsmen.
"Even Marsh, his role was to play till 10-12 overs, but the way he got out was disappointing and then Maxwell and Morgan, these are the experienced players... I mean the players who got out had been informing the next batsman that it's a slow wicket and even then if you throw away wickets, it means that you're not up for the game."
Skipper Glenn Maxwell, who flicked straight to Ajinkya Rahane at the deep square leg boundary, came under fire from Sehwag.
"We always knew that when Maxwell fires, then he can win the match on his own," Sehwag said. "But he didn't fire in eight or nine games. That is a big disappointment, especially since he's experienced, having played for Australia's Test and ODI teams. He didn't take the responsibility as a captain and didn't perform for Kings XI Punjab."
The Australian took to Twitter to thank the fans and expressed his desire to captain a team in the next edition.
Well that was less then ideal...— Glenn Maxwell (@Gmaxi_32) May 14, 2017
Thanks to all the fans that turned up throughout the season to support us. It's been an adventure! Cheers??
We tried our backsides off @lionsdenkxip!! As captain, I couldn't be more proud of the group for all their efforts on and off the field!— Glenn Maxwell (@Gmaxi_32) May 14, 2017
It's been an amazing experience captaining an IPL team for the first time! Hopefully I get the opportunity to captain a team again! #lovedit— Glenn Maxwell (@Gmaxi_32) May 14, 2017
Sehwag also stated that his side missed the services of in-form Hashim Amla, who had left to play for South Africa.
"We missed Hashim Amla, for sure," Sehwag said. "The kind of consistency he showed, none of the other players could do that, an individual couldn't take responsibility.
(With inputs from PTI)