Kings XI Punjab currently occupies 8th position in the IPL’s points table with one win and five defeats. We haven’t seen a regular playing XI in all the six matches played so far. They are still seeking to find the right combination of players and have a balanced team on the park.
Their only win to date is against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, which came by the route of an impressive 97 runs victory.
The team came close to win on several occasions but somehow could not cross the finish line. This situation undoubtedly must be taking a toll on the team psychologically and negatively impacting its morale.
Punjab’s build-up pre-tournament
This team started the tournament with a tremendous promise of becoming champions for the first time in IPL history. Their opening pair of Gayle-Rahul was considered the most threatening couple after the Warner-Bairstow duo.
However, it seems that Gayle is retained in the team for advertisement shoots and promotional purposes rather than playing in the IPL tournament.
The Windies legend Chris “Universe Boss” Gayle is yet to feature in any of the games to date for Kings XI Punjab, and when posed with the question, why? Head coach Anil Kumble revealed that Gayle was supposed to be in the Kings XI Punjab Playing XI against SRH but was omitted as he was sick.
“Chris Gayle was going to play today’s match, but he is sick. He is down with food poisoning; that’s why he isn’t in the playing eleven,” Kumble told commentators.
However, the Karnataka boys Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul opening combination have performed way beyond expectation. Both batsmen are among the top-5 run-getters in the tournament thus far.
However, many would argue that the problem lies after the opening pair, given the fact that Kings does not have a solid number 3 batsman. They have already tried three different players in that spot but to no avail.
The problem down the batting order presents a problem too, as Nicholas Pooran and Glenn Maxwell continue to blow hot and cold.
Moreover, the Kings does not have a strong big hitter who can play cameos.
Lack of bowling form and confidence
There is also a bowling problem as the current bowlers have failed to get batsmen out at crucial points to set up a team win in a couple of matches.
Sheldon Cottrell seems to have lost his confidence in the recent matches, especially after being hit for five sixes in an over at Sharjah. The same is true for Mohammed Shami, who started the tournament on a high, but the added pressure of being the only premium bowler in the side is taking its toll on him.
Young Bishoni is the only player who has contributed well with regular wickets in the middle overs.
KL Rahul’s captaincy?
KL Rahul is leading an IPL franchise for the first time. It is too early to judge him as a captain.
However, he looked pretty ordinary in his captaincy thus far.
His body language in the field when the team is under pressure is telling. He must display better leadership skills in games when the team is not doing well.
KL Rahul’s role captain has also affected his batting performances as his strike rate has gone down. He is apparently under pressure, given that the middle order batting line-up is not showing up.
Coach’s role in the team
Here, the Head Coach Anil Kumble’s role is crucial in decision-making during strategic timeouts and in the team’s selections to ease the captain’s pressure. Also, the coach and captain must show consistency in selecting the ideal playing 11.
What can the team do better?
KL Rahul has to play his natural game at a strike rate of 140+, which will eventually help the team score quick runs in the powerplay.
Overseas players Glen Maxwell and Nicholas Pooran must take some responsibility to give the team stability in the middle overs.
The players must play together as a unit and not depend on individuals; only then Punjab will make a comeback in IPL 2020.
Any Hopes for Kings XI Punjab?
It is not all over for Kings as they have eight more games in the tournament. It is just a matter of one win, and the team could be right back on track.
Hopefully, one will see some competitive cricket from Kings to stay alive in the tournament to the end.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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