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KL Rahul has not done bad at all with the bat this IPL: Klusener backs LSG skipper

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Mumbai, May 16 (PTI) KL Rahul might feel a bit frustrated but he has not done "bad at all" with the bat, said assistant coach Lance Klusener, who feels the Lucknow Super Giants skipper was forced to curb his attacking instincts with wickets falling around him this IPL.

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Rahul, who has been in focus for his strike rate more often than not, is the seventh highest run-getter this season with 465 runs at 136.36 in 13 matches including three fifties and yet LSG find themselves on the brink of elimination.

On Friday, the seventh-placed LSG will take on Mumbai Indians in what would be the final group match for both the teams in this IPL.

"He's had some great performances over the tournament. He's had to rebuild a lot of the times. We've lost wickets around him. We haven't allowed him to play his natural game," Klusener replied when asked if the skipper was burdened with the captaincy role combined with getting runs for his side.

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“It's easy to just sit and think, ‘oh, well, he hasn't had a great tournament'. But if you look at his numbers, they're actually not bad at all, considering the circumstances that he's had to bat,” he told the media during LSG’s training session here at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.

“He's got the respect of the group. In terms of his captaincy, it's been outstanding. (But) if he looks back, he might just be a little frustrated with the amount of runs that he scored,” Klusener said.

The former South African cricketer said Rahul was left to rebuild the innings on several occasions during the league phase which did not allow him to flourish with his natural game.

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“If you look at the circumstances, he's had to rebuild a lot of the time while he's been batting, so the batting group around him haven't done him too many favours either,” he said.

Klusener also refused to put the blame on any specific reason as to why the team failed to perform up to its potential.

“I'm a big believer that the bowling group plays a huge role in winning T20 games. But there's no blame at anyone's door,” he said.

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“It's just a consistency as a group that has led us down this year. We haven't scored enough runs and again, we haven't taken enough wickets as well. You put all that together and that's why you end up where we are on the log." Klusener said they still have a chance of making IPL playoffs — given they beat MI on Friday and other results go their way — and would focus on winning.

“We're not resigned to any fact. We're just in a position where we can only make sure that we get over the line tomorrow. We've had enough opportunities over the course of the competition to make sure we don't have to rely on others,” he said.

Mumbai Indians’ Naman Dhir, meanwhile, admitted that MI’s bowlers could have done better to support Jasprit Bumrah, who is second in the list of most successful bowlers with 20 wickets.

“Sometimes we batted well or sometimes we bowled well. The coaches have also spoken with us that it was not our season, yet we worked hard. Yes, Jasprit bhai did not get enough support to his bowling in some matches, but we will learn from it,” he said. PTI DDV ATK

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