After Rajasthan Royals defeated Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by three wickets here skipper Dinesh Karthik criticised his bowling unit, saying they have been found wanting most of the times in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
KKR recovered from a slow start to post 175/6 riding on Karthik's career-best 97 not out on Thursday night. But teenager Riyan Parag struck a 31-ball 47 along with Jofra Archer (12-ball 27 not out) to pull off a heist for Royals who were 98/5 after 13 overs.
KKR, for the second game in a row, chose to leave star India wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav out of the playing XI and instead went with an extra pace option in the form of Prithvi Raj.
The two-time champions even dropped Harry Gurney for an extra all-rounder besides Andre Russell in Carlos Brathwaite, who opened the bowling.
None of that worked as they succumbed to their sixth loss on the trot to all but miss a playoffs berth.
"I think bowling overall, a lot of times, has been found wanting a little bit. I think batting as well, a lot of times... and that's why we have not been able to close games in which we even ended up scoring a lot of runs," Karthik told reporters at the post-match press conference.
"That's something that we need to look into definitely to get better and the boys are aware of it," he added.
There have been questions asked about Karthik's captaincy as well. The 33-year old World Cup bound stumper batsman said he is aware of that although as a team, KKR is leaving no stones unturned to turn it around.
"When results don't go your way, these questions will be asked and I understand that but as a team, we're trying to do a lot of things right," Karthik conceded.
"We're trying to build the right combination and trying to come every game believing that we can win a game and we're trying to keep everybody in good space and making sure the dressing room is good and they all have trust in the leader.
"It's my job to lead from the front. But sometimes the results don't go away. The fact is that we try hard as a team and I'm sure I have belief in my boys and we'll come stronger."
Sunil Narine, who returned with decent figures of 2/25 from his four overs, dropped Parag when he hadn't even open his account. Asked if that made the difference, Karthik said: "That happened very early in the game but obviously if he had caught it things would have been different. Getting more wickets at that stage would have put more pressure on them."
Karthik also felt 175 was a good score given the situation they were in after 10 overs. KKR were 49/3 before the skipper took it on himself to up the ante.
"A couple of good overs in the middle somewhere, we would have won the game. So it looks like 175 was a good score. But if we had batted the first initial bit with more boundaries, maybe we could have gone a little more, but having said that, from the situation we were in, we would have taken 175."
KKR, placed sixth in the points table after 11 games, face Mumbai Indians at the EdenGardens here next. Now they will have to depend on other results even if they win their remaining three to harbour any hope of making the playoffs.