KXIP will be facing Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore in Sharjah today. While RCB is coming after the win against Chennai Super Kings, KL Rahul’s KXIP are in real trouble. This is a must win game for KL Rahul and his boys if they want to keep the hope of playoffs alive.
Before the start of the tournament, KXIP was being considered as one of the top contenders for this year’s title. A batting line up with T20 superstars, Mohammad Shami, Sheldon Cotrell, Chris Jordan’s lethal pair, the genius of Anil Kumble as the coach and the young KL Rahul as the captain, it seemed nothing could have gone wrong with this team.
In the first match itself, KXIP lost to Delhi Capitals in the super over, however Mayank Aggarwal never give up attitude depicted that this team is here to prove something. The biggest highlight of that match was the decision of not sending Mayank Aggarwal in the superover. Coach Anil Kumble and captain KL Rahul faced extreme criticism and backlash from the fans after the match. People believed after this blunder Punjab will make a strong comeback, but destiny had something else for KXIP fans.
In the next game against RCB, KL Rahul showed his masterclass and played the knock of the tournament. Punjab completely outclassed Virat Kohli’s RCB, but after that everything changed for KXIP and their fans. KXIP faced 5 consecutive humiliating losses and remained at bottom of the points table at the end of first phase of the tournament with just 2 points. KL Rahul and his men lacked the confidence and self belief that is required at big stages.
Reasons for Punjab’s failure
Over dependence on KL Rahul and Mayank Aggarwal:
The team is completely dependent on KL Rahul and Mayank Aggarwal. With lack of fire power in the lower middle order because of Glenn Maxwell’s continuous failure, KXIP struggled a lot. KL Rahul holds the Orange cap, with 387 runs in 7 matches, while his partner Mayank Aggarwal stands at number 2 with 337 runs in 7 matches. KL and Mayank have alone scored 724 runs out of total 1201 runs scored by Punjab, this clearly indicates the over dependency. Individual accomplishments doesn’t matter untill the team wins.
The duo played fearless cricket in the initial phase of the tournament, but after Punjab’s middle order got exposed the openers went on a defensive mode with a plan of taking time and staying till the end. But what’s the point of staying till the end when you are not able to finish the games. In most of the games KL Rahul or Mayank Aggarwal stayed till the end but was unable to take team across the finishing line.
We have seen great players like Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers, David Warner ensuring to win the game once they are set in the middle. KL Rahul and Mayank Aggarwal needs to adopt this into their game, if they want to win matches for their team.
KL Rahul is India’s future. After the Semi final defeat against New Zealand in World Cup 2019, the selectors and the captain have started looking at KL Rahul as a key player. Captain Virat Kohli has mentioned earlier that KL Rahul is India’s next big thing and can play the role of wicketkeeper batsman in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
High expectations are riding on KL’s shoulder and their is no doubt the guy has lot of talent, but he needs to acquire the leadership skills. In many games we have seen KL Rahul failed to take right decision at right point of time. The utilisation of big players have also been questionable, few instances sending Prabhsimran Singh before Glenn Maxwell in the match against KKR, or using leg spinner in the last over against MI when Hardik Pandya and Keiron Pollard were taking charge.
A captain needs to take charge in the field and he is accountable for it. Having a great man like Anil Kumble as a coach is always a luxury, but the last call should be of the captain.
Another big reason for KXIP’s failure in this tournament is inconsistent selection. This shows either the team has failed to get a perfect balance or the management and the captain has no confidence in its players. In a big tournament like IPL, judging a player based on just one bad game is not fair. Moreover everytime the Kings were on the field, it seems they want to do something different rather than sticking to the basics. The Universe Boss Chris Gayle has not played a single game in the first stage of the tournament, now it would be unfair to him if the management decides to bring him back and take chances in few of the matches.
After first game against DC, due to just one bad over Punjab dropped Chris Jordan and brought James Neesham. Just after few games they again brought in Chris Jordan without giving proper opportunity to James Neesham. The lack of confidence and inconsistency in selection have resulted to King XI Punjab’s failure.
However now Kings XI Punjab and KL Rahul needs to forget the past, roll up their sleeves and think about the future. This game will decide Punjab’s fate in the tournament. Till now KXIP have only attained 2 points if they win the remaining 7 matches, the team will go upto 16 points and can easily qualify for the playoffs, but practically it seems very difficult. If KXIP wins the tournament it will not only give them hope, but also the tournament will become more interesting. The team has match winners, but it’s just that they not click at the right time. If every player plays as team unit and contributes in any which way, there will be no looking back for KXIP.