KL Rahul was left searching for answers after the Gujarat Titans on Saturday came up with a rather astonishing win over his Lucknow Super Giants in their Indian Premier League match at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.

GT won a match that looked all but in LSG’s bag for most of the day, beating the hosts by 7 runs in a low-scoring encounter.

Hardik Pandya won the toss for the Titans and opted to bat first. The skipper’s 66 off 50, along with Wriddhiman Saha’s 47 off 37 took them to a total of 135/6 in 20 overs.

In the run-chase, LSG captain KL Rahul and Kyle Mayers got off to a quick start, putting up 55 before the latter was dismissed in the seventh over. There was still enough time to comfortably reach the total. So much so that LSG needed 30 runs of 36 balls, with nine wickets in hand at one stage. But the slow run-rate, coupled by good bowling by the Titans, and quick dismissals saw LSG lose a match that they looked sure of winning.

IPL 2023: Mohit Sharma, Noor Ahmad shine as Gujarat Titans pull off a heist against LSG

“I don’t know how this has happened, and it’s happened so fast. That’s cricket, it keeps reminding us that the game is never won till the last ball. I still can’t put a finger on it and say where we went wrong,” a distraught Rahul said in a post-match interview.

“But it is what it is, we lost two points, we had the game in our pockets, and we let it slip.”

Rahul scored 68 off 61 with eight boundaries, but it was his inability to push the scoring-rate when required that piled on the pressure on LSG. Ian Bishop asked him if he could reflect on his knock and think of what he could have done differently.

“We were well ahead in the game. I obviously wasn’t trying to bat very deep, but still trying to play my shots, take on the bowlers that I fancied. They bowled quite well in those 2-3 over period between Noor Ahmad and Jayant Yadav. Probably should have taken a few more chances there, we had a few wickets in hand,” he said.

“It wasn’t an easy wicket for the batters to come in and get going straight away. Set batter, you obviously want them to finish the game for you. That was my mindset but I should have taken a few more chances. I just had to get a few out of the middle of the bat at the end. They did bowl decently, but we did miss out on some boundary opportunities. That’s the only thing we went wrong in the 40 overs we played. In the end, I think the pressure got to us. They bowled some good overs, but still we should have gotten it done.”

In the last over, with LSG needing 12 runs to win, Mohit Sharma conceded just four runs. In that over however, Sharma picked up the wickets of Rahul and Marcus Stoinis, while Ayush Badoni and Deepak Hooda were run-out.

Though this was a devastating loss for LSG, Rahul did ponder on the positives that came from the bowling and fielding departments.

“We were quite brilliant. 135 is probably par, or 10 under par. We know these conditions and we utilised it quite well. The bowlers were clear with their plans and their execution was spot-on. We started well with the bat, I still can’t believe what has happened. We just have to accept it and take it as it is. It’s a game, these things keep happening. It’s going to take us a while and we’ll try and come back strong,” he added.

“We’re still doing a lot of things right, we’re still eight points from the seven games that we’ve played. We’re still good as a team, there’s nothing to question our attitude or how we’re playing our cricket. These things happen, sometimes you’re on the wrong side. This one is going to sting.”

LSG sits second in the league table with four wins and a three losses from their seven matches so far. They will now travel to Mohali to play the Punjab Kings in their next match on April 28.