Kings XI Punjab 2013 review May 19, 2013

Another season in the bottom half

With some of their big names stumbling this season, Kings XI Punjab were rarely serious contenders for a playoff place

Where they finished

Just like last season, Kings XI Punjab finished sixth with 16 points and for the third season in a row they were left agonisingly close to a place in the qualifiers. Had they won one more match and ended with 18 points, they too would have been in contention for a place in the playoffs along with Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore. Traditionally they are poor starters but this season they began with a commanding win. However, they lost their next two matches and followed it with some more inconsistent performances.

What went right

The overseas players. From the first match, in which Ryan Harris and Azhar Mahmood helped the other bowlers restrict Pune Warriors to 99, to the last, it was the overseas players who first kept them in the top half of the points table, then kept their hopes alive till their penultimate match and then gave them a 50-run win in their last match against the mighty Mumbai Indians in Dharamsala.

Their top three run-scorers, their highest wicket-taker, their 38-year-old allrounder - all foreign players. Ryan Harris did his bit too with an economy of six runs per over from three matches before injuring his heel.

What also worked very well for Kings XI was their pace attack, comprising mainly of Indian bowlers. Sixty-three out of the 77 wickets their bowlers took were through the pacers, a whopping 81.81%. Praveen Kumar's swing fetched him 12 wickets - mostly disturbing the top order, Parvinder Awana struck 15 times in 14 matches - a first or second change bowler breaking partnerships in the middle overs, Mahmood also took 15 with his precise line and length, complementing Kumar with seam options. When changes were made in the pace attack, Sandeep Sharma took eight wickets in four matches, Manpreet Gony took seven and Harmeet Singh chipped in with five wickets in three.

What went wrong

Opening partnerships. Whether Mandeep Singh opened with Adam Gilchrist, Shaun Marsh or Luke Pomersbach, the highest he could manage with any of them was 45 with Gilchrist. Their highest opening stand, of 60, was between Gilchrist and Marsh in their penultimate match which came a little too late. An out-of-form captain and an average opening stand of 16.50 at a run-rate of 6.68 means Kings XI will have to buy some specialist openers in next year's auction as Gilchrist won't be there, whether they want him or not.

Kings XI had their problems batting first. They often lost a flurry of wickets in the slog overs and out of the eight matches in which they batted first, they lost eight wickets or more five times - including two all-outs. To add to that, they crossed 150 only thrice in those eight matches, winning all three.

Best player

While Mahmood put his heart and soul into his performances, making 196 runs with two fifties and picking 15 wickets (joint highest wicket-taker for Kings XI), the player who changed their batting fortunes along with Marsh was David Miller. After missing their first three games, Miller grabbed everyone's attention with an unbeaten 41-ball 80 to chase 186 in the last over against Pune Warriors. Hungry for more, he helped them chase a modest 121 in the next game and struck another fifty a match after that, but his five sixes weren't enough as they fell short by four runs. In their next match, against Chennai Super Kings, he made sure he finished the chase again with a 25-ball fifty before pulling of perhaps the innings of the season, a belligerent 38-ball hundred against Royal Challengers Bangalore. He finished as the highest run-scorer for Kings XI, and his father's advice of ."if it's in the arc, it's out of the park," was one of the memorable lines of the IPL.

Worst player

Since Gilchrist's performances were waning in the last couple of years, the nucleus of the Kings XI squad was made of other Australian batsmen David Hussey, a T20 veteran, and Marsh. But Hussey, unlike his brother, failed to make a mark this season and was unable to win them a single match. On the field, he was more entertaining during the short stints when he was miked up - providing jokes and insights - than with bat and ball. No fifties, 235 runs at a strike-rate of 112.55 and 11 overs for 91 runs without a wicket sum up a sorry season for a man on whom Kings XI splashed out $1.4million.

Find of the season

He played only four games but they were enough for him to make a mark. Just turned 20, Sandeep Sharma's figures of 3 for 21 against Sunrisers Hyderabad added to his achievements at the Under-19 level and the Ranji Trophy. Against Delhi Daredevils, he produced 3 for 23, this time including a maiden, and in their last match picked two more to finish the season on a winning note.

Moment to remember

After having a difficult season with the bat, Gilchrist signed-off in style with a first-ball wicket of Harbhajan Singh in the last match - his first wicket in representative cricket - and what followed was a medley of IPL celebrations. As soon as Gurkeerat Singh took the catch, Gilchrist mimicked Chris Gayle and Harbhajan doing the Gangnam step, followed by Kieron Pollard's style of celebration. In the post-match presentation, he said he missed out on Darren Sammy's rock the baby step, but the celebrations didn't seem to lack any enthusiasm.

Recommended for retention

David Miller, Shaun Marsh

Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    i think they didnt reach playoff only bcoz of darren lehmann.....Azhar mahmood Bats no. 3 all over the world,why he was sending him on no. 6 & 7....he also kept him out of team to try some australian player....If u only interested in australian player go thr & coach them...

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2013, 3:52 GMT

    soo wonder fr kings 11 pyujab this tim e preety ji please pay special attentio to the best domestic plyer insted of the worsing punjabuiplayer

  • Sid on May 20, 2013, 21:32 GMT

    KXIP deserved the Play-Off spot as much as SRH & they prepared good pitches where the opposition had an equal chance of winning rather than one doctored to the home sides' advantage. Their main problem was Gilchrist's poor form leading to lack of good starts with Mandeep Singh, who also found it a bit hard in this IPL. By the time they found form, they virtually had to win everything. And so they did, except for the mud-pie in Hyderabad where no team could get going barring CSK, who made it look a completely different pitch. In the end, the MI & CSK run chases were crucial. Its hard to expect a team to come from behind and finish matches everytime. They were bound to lose their share of couple & it cost them. Overall, for next season, they should add one strike bowler like Steyn & one stable Indian batsman like Rahane/Badrinath/M.Tiwary. Overseas batsmen can be McCullum for Gilly & Watson/Kallis/Moises for Hussey, KP & Shah. Now, that a hard team to beat !!

  • Vivek on May 20, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    The most consistent team - with its predictable inconsistencies. Somehow KXIP reflects the spirit of punjab (albeit with handful of local players) i.e. when its our day and mood, we can beat anyone (CSK, RCB and MI know better). I loved the way younger players were given ongoing opportunities despite some failures. Like SunRisers, this is a team rather than collection of stars (read MI). They have been good losers - I rarely saw Gilly talking about the bad decisions continuously dished out to them. Above all I wish other teams also play like them and enjoy like them because there is a vibe which lifts mood. Whether victory or loss, there is a celebration and definitely the culmination at Dharamsala is the icing on the cake. This team will lose many of its players in the coming auction because there are teams who have endless money bags to buy - I hope the new KXIP is as good or better but above all hope they can keep this vibe going that IPL so badly needs.

  • jayaesh on May 20, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    I like the look of young Manan Vohra, he has loads of potential , he looks very confident and unhurried when facing the quicks , hope he has a good Ranji season with Punjab, Sandeep Sharma might not have the pae but he has control and banana inswingers ... Mandeep Singh can play the pull and cut well but time he discovers there are other shots in the book too !!! i don't what are the retention rules so i can't really speculate, but one thing for sure David Miller will see his prize skyrocket either ways weather he stays or is put in auction.My own personal view is that these constant auctions destroy team idendity and loyalty for fans but it does not mean that uncapped Indian players and lesser paid foriegn players continue with low salaries and contracts .

  • Dummy4 on May 20, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    Since last 2-3 seasons, KXIP has come close to qualifying and didn't qualify cause they are alwayz 1-2 wins short and the other results don't go their way. KXIP have a wonderful bunch of youth players. David Hussey's form was a bit worrying and a critical point of not qualifying. They need a good opener and someone to contribute in the middle-order. Bowling looks fine but maybe a backup for Piyush Chawla. Sandeep Sharma was indeed a good find.

  • Dummy4 on May 20, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    In my opinion this team deserves a lot more that it has got. the many and only problem i see is their selection of playing XI and the batting order. First foremost the team has to include the best XI i mean the performing XI rather that just big names in the team. I suggest that Miller, Sandeep and Mahmood were their best performers and also that Miller should have played at no 2 or 3 so as to get maximum overs to get in and then make the assault. The match against the RCB was the best ever chasing in the IPL ever. Hats off to Miller the "KILLER" what an innings he played. It was far more better than the Gayle Storm. I really wish that the Kings XI do realize their mistakes and come out roaring next season. As far as retaining of players is concerned I think they should retain - Miller, Mahmood, Shaun Marsh, Praveen Kumar, Sandeep and Gilchrist as their Mentor. OH!! Sorry guyz just forgot to mention praise for Sir Gilchrist. SIR U R THE BEST. I was feeling so good to see GILLI-DANCE.

  • MADHAV on May 20, 2013, 7:24 GMT

    Not to forget their poor luck. Many umpire decisions went against them (the beamer in the last over against MI being the most unfortunate). In the middle of the season, they did a Pune by experimenting with a lot of combinations (KXIP was the only team to have played all the foreign players) which led to a lot of losses. They should retain Piyush Chawla too. True that he leaks too many runs but that's because the Mohali and Dharamshala pitches are not too kind on spinners. He is also bowling the way he needs to bowl; give the ball some air and try to get the wickets in the middle overs. Moreover, he now possesses the 120+ kph ball too, which has proved to be quite effective.

  • NIRANJAN on May 20, 2013, 3:26 GMT

    One of my favourites especially becos they are underdogs ... They should have tried Valthaty couple more matches with Mandeep or Gilli.. But overall, happy to see Miller knock the hair out of RCB and Gilli bouncing back to form towards the end ... If they only had Marsh from begining.. :-( I just wish Kings X1 doesn't just stay on no.6 next season also.. I wast to see them get into the playoffs atleast once.