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Kings XI Punjab: The Unpredictables

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Glenn_Maxwell_Kings_XI_Punjab_Australia_CricketThe journey of Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the IPL, trying to showcase their worth in this most glamorous tournament, has been a roller coaster ride. Their story in this year’s edition of IPL has been revolving around one theme – so close and yet so far.

As the tournament is finishing up, KXIP have everything to play for in their final match of the group stage. Currently with 7 wins in 13 matches, Punjab sit in 5th place on the points table. They have got themselves in a situation where everything is at stake for them and will be heading in the next match with a ‘do or die’ mindset.

Like Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab is famous for its different team combinations. Their disastrous season last year, where they finished at the bottom of the table, was a clear example of what wrong team combinations can result in.

This year, they came back with a new strategy, naming star player Glenn Maxwell as their captain. They brought in Virender Sehwag as their chief coach along with Mithun Manhas. Having a player like Viru in the dugout can lift any team’s confidence.

KXIP had an awe-inspiring season three years back when Maxwell took the responsibility on his shoulders and led his team to the playoffs stage, where luck left their hand. But this year the team has been doing well thanks to Hashim Amla, Shaun Marsh, Sandeep Sharma and Maxi, who contributed to some match winning performances. These players have led their team this far in the tournament.  

After losing the match against Gujarat Lions, which was there for the taking Kings took the field by putting everything at stake against mighty KKR to keep their hopes alive in the tournament. Kings eventually won the contest by 14 runs, thanks to some brilliant batting by Maxwell and a terrific spell by young leggie Rahul Tewatia who turned the game and snatched it from KKR.

This was their first win against KKR since 2014. When asked to share his views in the post-match presentation, Maxwell said, “I asked for an improved performance on the field and certainly got that tonight, Rahul Tewatia bowled really well with Mohit Sharma who won the game for us.”

Apart from this match and the one against RCB, where Sandeep Sharma demolished their batting line up, Kings XI lost to Gujarat Lions because of their poor bowling and fielding. They dropped multiple catches, including top scorer Dwayne Smith twice. In this IPL we have seen some real sitters going down, but not like what we saw against GL by their fielders.

A team which is not consistent and up to the mark in every department can’t really make a big mark in the tournament. This was proved by RCB this season. Big names don’t win you matches all the time. What matters is the intent and how you apply yourself on the field. KXIP often don’t apply themselves or believe completely, which is why they face losses from strong positions.

Kings XI Punjab is the most unpredictable side of the tournament. They can win from a losing position and lose from a winning position. Their bowlers showed us their ruthlessness against Delhi Daredevils, whom they demolished for just 67. On the other hand, they have also struggled to defend scores of more than 180. KXIP’s unpredictability is their main flaw, which many teams in the tournament have regularly exposed.

Not having Amla in that all-important game against KKR (the first of 3 must-win games) was a setback. But their bowlers turned the game around completely, giving fans something to cheer. When a team wins in this fashion, it is an enormous morale boost. Their race to the playoffs became more interesting.

Having applied all ifs and buts, the scenario for Punjab to qualify is quite simple. They HAVE to win their final match against Rising Pune Supergiant. If they do, they will go ahead of RPS on Net Run Rate. That is all that matters. Whether they will be 3rd or 4th will depend on their margin of victory.

IPL is about making things interesting. And things have definitely become interesting for Kings XI Punjab. How will they play in their final game? Will they be able to repeat history and qualify for the playoffs?

 

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Yatin Singh is a graduate of Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, studied B.A (H) Journalism. Yatin,...

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