IPL 2012 May 20, 2012

Punjab fall just short again

Terrific on the road, not so at home. An inconsistent Kings XI Punjab still punched above their weight

Key player

Kings XI Punjab had to shell out $1.4m for David Hussey's services, but it proved to be money well spent. Whether it was as a finisher or as a stabiliser, Hussey's game proved malleable to the match situation. With Adam Gilchrist ruled out of much of the season with a hamstring tear, Hussey took over the leadership and inspired his younger team-mates like Mandeep Singh. His offspinners weren't on view often, though it did prove a game-changer in at least one match.

Bargain buy

At $200,000 Azhar Mahmood was a cut-price purchase. After the troubles with his visa were sorted, Mahmood became an integral part of the XI, showing that even at 37, he was a formidable force in Twenty20s. In a tournament where the death-bowling has been abysmal, Mahmood was a reliable performer late in the innings, regularly tricking batsmen with his slower ball. He hasn't been a slouch with the bat either, entering the tournament with 14-ball 33 against Royal Challengers Bangalore and finishing with a steadying 36 against Delhi Daredevils.

Another contender in this category is uncapped fast bowler Parvinder Awana, who went on to become their highest wicket-taker this season.

Flop buy

Hard to pick anyone for this category at a tight-fisted franchise like Kings XI. Unlike others, they didn't make any big-money buys to shake up the XI. Their wage bill was possibly less than last year as they sold off the $900,000-rated Dinesh Karthik and brought in a load of inexpensive players. The costliest acquisition this season was Mahmood at a measly (by IPL standards) $200,000, and he turned out to be a shrewd investment.


Halfway through the season, Kings XI had only three wins, and were playing to pre-tournament expectations by being stuck at No.8. The tailspin seemed set to continue against Chennai Super Kings, when they blundered to 156, after having been 97 for 1 in the 12th over. Super Kings' openers cruised to 47 by the sixth over, before Mahmood started the fightback, dismissing both openers with his slower ball. Piyush Chawla then showed his resilience, taking 2 for 20 and choking the middle order just three days after a confidence-shattering, match-losing penultimate over against Mumbai Indians. Even the depth of Super Kings' batting, with Albie Morkel at No. 8, wasn't enough to overcome Kings XI, who in the absence of superstars once again turned in a team effort to outpunch heavier opponents.


After completing the difficult job of beating both Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore away in the space of five days, Kings XI were in the top four for the first time in the season. They had a chance to build on that momentum when they came up against a Rajasthan Royals side that had lost four in a row, the last of which had been a hiding at the hands of Daredevils. Instead, Kings XI imploded, going down by 43 runs. Their captain Hussey summarised the performance: "I don't think our bowlers were that flash, I don't think our fielding was that flash. I think the batting needs a bit of work as well."


Inconsistent. They never managed to win more than two games in a row. Kings XI beat four of the top five teams on the road, but their home record was unflattering, victorious in only three matches. For the third time in four seasons, they had a chance of qualifying as the final round of league games started and, as on the previous two occasions, they blew it, surrendering to Daredevils in Dharamsala.

One of the bright spots in their campaign was that the highest run-getter and highest wicket-taker for Kings XI were both young, uncapped Indians. At the start of the tournament, Kings XI seemed to have one of the weakest of Indian contingents, especially after the sale of Karthik to Mumbai Indians. Mandeep Singh, all of 20 years old, stepped up as an opener while Awana extended his success in the Ranji season to the IPL as well.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • DaDaL0G on May 21, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    Kings XI Should Buy Any Real Pacer instead of Praveen Kumar and they must look for Another fast bowling Allrounder like Azhar Mahmood, but not overseas and i think IPL Administrations Should Allow Minimum 5 Overseas players to play Because a good team must have 2 overseas Fast Bowlers and 2 Proper overseas Batsman and One pure Allrounder(overseas) than they can make difference on there own but with un experienced domestic players its quiet difficult to turn the game in favor like RCB Struggled in their bowling Department because they cant afford Dirk Nannes on the place of Murli or Dilshan, RCB's Batting was lifted by AB & Gayle. team which is having most sixes in this season is going down its not fair they should consider the 5th overseas player seriously.

  • hunksurat on May 21, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    Good analysis. Nobody predicted Kings would performed as well as they did. They fought really well. As a common theme in IPL that is lack of Indian player performances, I think kings did decently with Mandeep, Awana Saini, and gurakreet towards the end. You all right Piyush shd not be playing in T20. Like most of the Indian bowlers in this tournament, he is a go after guy if you need risk free runs. I think it was a fun IPL to watch. Unfortunately, most of the matches were dominated by performance from foreign players. Very few Indians played match winning innings. To Increase competitiveness in IPL more foreign should be allowed so that people like Jadeja, karthik, Vinay kumar Tiwary S do not get paind in millions when they deserve much less

  • Z.Saleem on May 21, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    good analysis, but I really thought that we (Kings XI) didn't had any chance to make it, however to take it as close as possible to the last match I think they do deserve a pat on the back. The arrival of Mahmood and Harris late to the squad did hurt them but next year should be exciting. They need some more players from India and 1-2 more from International Cricket as Gilly won't be playing more. Should surely drop Chawla now as he did cost a few games and has the record of being hit for most sixes in the IPL history!

  • Alexk400 on May 20, 2012, 14:30 GMT

    Problem was lack of form or physical fitness of paul valthaty. His shot selection is probably wrong. He played compact last year. Not sure what happened to him this year. I think most indian players once they get taste of money their intensity drop 50%.

  • eZoha on May 20, 2012, 12:26 GMT

    Actually Punjab had a very good team on paper this year. Not sure why everybody is saying they overachieved. When you have Marsh, Gilchrist, Hussey, Harris along with Mahmood as they foreigners and Praveen and Chawla from the Indian team along with Valthaty as IPL star, you have to call it a damn good team. Every team (except Mumbai and Chennai to some extent) has fringe players, so that's not a problem. Praveen was below par, Gilchrist failed in the first few matches and Marsh, Hussey, Mahmood came late in the season. Probably that why they were tagged underdogs. They showed good team spirit nonetheless.

  • Raja13590 on May 20, 2012, 11:00 GMT

    Really a good team to watch Kings xi punjab except they dint win crunch games everytime.. but surely bright future ahead for mandeep,awana nd gurkeerat. surprising tat gilly nd hussey r doing gr8 wit captaincy how cum they wer not been captains for atleast a year or two.. Azhar mahmmod doing very well even now shows he s fit at anytime.. good luck n all the best for next yr guys :)

  • royalg on May 20, 2012, 9:53 GMT

    Punjab were brilliant to watch this season, soo many young talents have performed above there expectations... JUST HOPE THE INDIAN SELECTORS WERE WATCHING. PEOPLE LIKE PARVINDER AWANA, MANDEEP SINGH, GURKEERAT SINGH R EASILY GUD ENOUGH TO PLAY IN THE 20/20 WORLD CUP FOR INDIA

  • dummy4fb on May 20, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    KXIPs problems always starts at the beginning,they pull back well in the middle & at the end,where they choke on 1 match. I still love KXIP

  • dummy4fb on May 20, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    excellent analysis! Hopefully next year. Shaun Marsh was a bit disappointing this year and so was paul valthaty.

  • dummy4fb on May 20, 2012, 6:13 GMT

    KINGS XI should DROP Peeyush Chawla immediatly .............

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