Kings XI Punjab 2014 season review June 2, 2014

The best batting unit of all IPL seasons

Kings XI Punjab had the best batting unit of the season by a distance but their bowling group - with the notable exception of Akshar Patel - was ordinary and it cost them the title
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Where they finished

Kings XI Punjab were runners-up, having lost the final to Kolkata Knight Riders. They had finished first in the league stage, their 11 wins in 14 matches putting them four points clear of the next best team.

What went right

Quite a lot, because Kings XI finished in the top four of the league stage for the first time since coming second in the inaugural IPL season in 2008. They had gone into the 2014 player auction with a purse as large as Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad, but smaller than that of Delhi Daredevils, and emerged the most improved squad - brimming with big-ticket batsmen.

They did not disappoint. Kings XI were the best batting team of the tournament; they were arguably the best batting outfit in all seven seasons of the IPL; they were probably the most entertaining side too. Kings XI had some starting trouble, as some of their Indian batsmen struggled for form and they tinkered with their batting order, but Glenn Maxwell and David Miller carried them through this phase with explosive performances. Then the pieces fell into place - Wriddhiman Saha, Virender Sehwag and Manan Vohra found form - and by the end of the season Kings XI could rely on any of their top six to score. They were so prolific as a unit that Shaun Marsh, a certainty to play for most other franchises, got only two games. Thisara Perera, Sri Lanka's power-hitting allrounder who was an integral part of the Sunrisers XI in 2013, did not get even one. Kings XI made the four highest totals in 2014, and scored more than 190 in eight innings.

Kings XI also made a rare combination work - a foreign captain and an Indian head coach. George Bailey began the season with questions over whether he would find a place among the four first-choice overseas players had he not been captain. And though Bailey's form with the bat was average, he led adroitly, kept his team in line, and played with grace in victory and defeat. Bailey had high praise for Bangar, Kings XI's new coach and perhaps the most low profile in the tournament. Bangar was credited with bringing the best out of Kings XI's less-known Indian talent, and he might have opened the door to the IPL for more Indian coaches.

What went wrong

The most difficult problem Bailey had was in managing his bowlers. After the auction, the Kings XI squad looked light on spinners - Murali Kartik was the only well-known name - but through the season they were consistently let down by their seam attack. Rishi Dhawan had the best numbers (13 wickets and an economy of 7.71) while the rest of the pace attack - Mitchell Johnson, Parvinder Awana, L Balaji and Sandeep Sharma - went for more than eight runs an over. The South African quick Beuran Hendricks played only three games and had an economy of 10.50. So while the Kings XI batsmen plundered, their bowlers were often plundered too.

Johnson was a disappointment, despite claiming 17 wickets. He never took more than two in an innings, his economy was 8.29, and he rarely operated with control. Johnson often bowled at least two overs during the first six, a period during which Kings XI conceded 8.77 per over, the second worst Powerplay economy for a team in all seven seasons. Johnson took only six wickets at an average of 40.66 in 29 overs during this period.

Sandeep was their top wicket-taker but while he was awesome in the UAE - seven wickets at an average of 8.85 and economy of 5.63 - he was expensive in India, where he went for 10.01 per over and took only 11 wickets in eight innings. Balaji and Awana were poor, lacking in pace and shoddy with lengths - and never more so than in the final.

Key stat

9.09 - The rate at which Kings XI scored their runs this year, the fastest for a team in any IPL season. They beat their own record from 2008, when their run rate was 8.81.

Best player

Glenn Maxwell began the tournament with 95, 89 and 95 and those three innings - boasting a combined strike rate of more than 200 - were replete with reverse sweeps, switch-hits, reverse pulls, and textbook shots too. They made Maxwell the IPL's newest sensation. He was the only batsman who could spectacularly destroy R Ashwin's Twenty20 tactic of pitching wide outside the right-hander's leg stump from round the wicket. Using an array of reverse hits, Maxwell pillaged 71 runs off the 27 balls Ashwin bowled at him this season. Maxwell's form tapered off in the second half of the season - only one score of more than 30 in his last nine innings - but he still finished as the tournament's third-highest runscorer. Maxwell joined Chris Gayle as the only batsmen to score more than 500 runs at a strike rate of more than 180 in an IPL season.

Poor performer

Cheteshwar Pujara was Kings XI's first choice as Virender Sehwag's opening partner. They gave him a run of six matches but Pujara was out of his depth and struggled to match less-talented batsmen for aggression. He made only 125 runs in six innings and his strike-rate of 100 often caused Kings XI to stagnate in the opening overs, leaving them dependent on Maxwell and David Miller for a pyrotechnic rescue. He was eventually replaced by Mandeep Singh, who in turn made way for Manan Vohra. Kings XI need Pujara to be able to bat at a faster clip in future seasons, because Sehwag might not be as effective in IPL 2015 and 2016.

Surprise package

Akshar Patel was actually Kings XI's player of the season, but because hardly anyone knew of him before this tournament, he was also an extremely surprising package. Patel was part of the Mumbai Indians squad in 2013 but did not get a game; he played all of Kings XI's 17 matches in 2014. At first glance, there isn't anything menacing about Patel's left-arm orthodox offerings. He doesn't spin it much and goes about his business in an understated way. However, besides his accurate line and length and variations of pace, Patel was unflappable in the tensest of situations, making him Bailey's go-to bowler. He took 17 wickets and his economy of 6.13 was the best among bowlers who had bowled more than eight overs this season. In the final, as all of his team-mates were going at more than 10 an over, Patel conceded only 21 off 24 balls.

Memorable moment

Kings XI had amassed 226 in the second qualifier against Chennai Super Kings, but Suresh Raina was attacking them like Asterix would punch through a testudo of Romans, having downed a flagon of magic potion. He had scored 87 off 25 balls, and Super Kings were 100 for 2 after six overs, when Brendon McCullum pushed the ball towards point. There was hesitation from both batsmen in going for the single but they decided to run it. George Bailey swooped on the ball, running to his left from cover. He picked up with his left hand, but had to swirl around because his momentum was taking him away from the stumps, and he would have been off balance had he tried to throw without turning. Bailey transferred the ball to his right hand as he did so and took aim at the striker's end. Nothing less than a direct hit would do. Raina was sprinting; he was diving; he was too late. In one fluid motion, Bailey had removed the obstacle between Kings XI and their maiden IPL final.

Unused players

Allrounder Thisara Perera, batsman Gurkeerat Singh, and medium-pacers Anureet Singh and Shardul Thakur.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • VINDES on June 4, 2014, 19:49 GMT

    Maxwell proved to be a 'Swapnil Asnodkar'. He hits the ball... if it lands safe you got runs, or else it goes to a fielder and he is out. Not someone you can rely on. Even with 2nd highest runs, the team would have been better with Shawn Marsh or some other batsman....

  • on June 4, 2014, 19:25 GMT

    Maxwell's 70 % runs came of slog sweep & he proved this slot to be most destructive slot for spinners-not mentioned anywhere in article!!

  • on June 4, 2014, 19:15 GMT

    Pujara was found out ...........................Baily is overrated as captain & batsman..............................Youngsters must be sent after established international players bcz whatever ypungsters can do international players can do better..................K11p was too slow in 1st 10 overs due to youngsters wasting too many precious deliveries to get set & that proved fatal in the end

  • on June 3, 2014, 7:53 GMT

    Sandeep Sharma and Rishi Dhawan should have been the fast bowlers in the IPL VII final. Balaji and Awana destroyed the game.

  • Mr.CricketJKNotHussey on June 3, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    @Arun Maya Maxwell had a 90 and two 40s in India. Miller one Punjab the match against RCB and had many other small cameos. The main reason why they "failed" was that the other batsmen like Saha, Sehwag and Bailey stepped up and Vohra came into the team. KXIP became a fearsome batting unit and not just two individuals. Hell, even Marsh did well in the two games he played. And doesn't it go to prove how good Maxi/Miller are when they performed abroad in the UAE, where barely any other batsmen got going (especially the Indian batsmen).

  • on June 3, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    max failed in his last 9 innings, miller was a mediocre in india leg. becos of other's teams' shooddy bowling and fielding, K11 survived. didnt find them better than SRH, KKR, MI,RR, CSK or RCB. am not comparing based on stats. they will fail terribly next season.

  • on June 3, 2014, 3:31 GMT

    People will always talk about the fact this was the best batting vs best bowling. KXIP proved that they could take the bowling apart. What they did to Ashwin and Narine was just amazing!!! KKR won because 12 overs of STUPID/MINDLESS bowling from Balaji, Avana and Mitchell (In that order). What I don't understand is that Bailey could have switched up his bowling a bit - Viru, Maxwell especially when the wicket was turning. I mean the batsmen did ALL they could - seriously, 199 after that horrid start. Anyways - hopefully KXIP will get some decent bowling next season.

  • on June 2, 2014, 18:22 GMT

    Kxip didnt even try Thisara perera. He scored 49 of 20 balls in england vs srilanka match.He is a match winner . I think he was better with srh and mi who needed an good allrounder.I rank thisara above Johnson espically in t20. He can score much needed run and can bowl good 4 overs.I hope he can get a good run in clt20

  • Lahori_Munde on June 2, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    It was a very interesting tournament., I wish it was a bit longer- atleast a week longer. Looks MLB, NBA and such leagues go on for 3-4 months..

  • ladycricfan on June 2, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    Ever smiling captain and the carefree batting style of their batsmen made them the most loveable team of the competition. Gambhir might be a competitor but a bit too serious. KXIP deserve to win the competition after their showing in the league phase. But Pandey was in their way to lift their first trophy. Better luck for IPL 8.

  • VINDES on June 4, 2014, 19:49 GMT

    Maxwell proved to be a 'Swapnil Asnodkar'. He hits the ball... if it lands safe you got runs, or else it goes to a fielder and he is out. Not someone you can rely on. Even with 2nd highest runs, the team would have been better with Shawn Marsh or some other batsman....

  • on June 4, 2014, 19:25 GMT

    Maxwell's 70 % runs came of slog sweep & he proved this slot to be most destructive slot for spinners-not mentioned anywhere in article!!

  • on June 4, 2014, 19:15 GMT

    Pujara was found out ...........................Baily is overrated as captain & batsman..............................Youngsters must be sent after established international players bcz whatever ypungsters can do international players can do better..................K11p was too slow in 1st 10 overs due to youngsters wasting too many precious deliveries to get set & that proved fatal in the end

  • on June 3, 2014, 7:53 GMT

    Sandeep Sharma and Rishi Dhawan should have been the fast bowlers in the IPL VII final. Balaji and Awana destroyed the game.

  • Mr.CricketJKNotHussey on June 3, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    @Arun Maya Maxwell had a 90 and two 40s in India. Miller one Punjab the match against RCB and had many other small cameos. The main reason why they "failed" was that the other batsmen like Saha, Sehwag and Bailey stepped up and Vohra came into the team. KXIP became a fearsome batting unit and not just two individuals. Hell, even Marsh did well in the two games he played. And doesn't it go to prove how good Maxi/Miller are when they performed abroad in the UAE, where barely any other batsmen got going (especially the Indian batsmen).

  • on June 3, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    max failed in his last 9 innings, miller was a mediocre in india leg. becos of other's teams' shooddy bowling and fielding, K11 survived. didnt find them better than SRH, KKR, MI,RR, CSK or RCB. am not comparing based on stats. they will fail terribly next season.

  • on June 3, 2014, 3:31 GMT

    People will always talk about the fact this was the best batting vs best bowling. KXIP proved that they could take the bowling apart. What they did to Ashwin and Narine was just amazing!!! KKR won because 12 overs of STUPID/MINDLESS bowling from Balaji, Avana and Mitchell (In that order). What I don't understand is that Bailey could have switched up his bowling a bit - Viru, Maxwell especially when the wicket was turning. I mean the batsmen did ALL they could - seriously, 199 after that horrid start. Anyways - hopefully KXIP will get some decent bowling next season.

  • on June 2, 2014, 18:22 GMT

    Kxip didnt even try Thisara perera. He scored 49 of 20 balls in england vs srilanka match.He is a match winner . I think he was better with srh and mi who needed an good allrounder.I rank thisara above Johnson espically in t20. He can score much needed run and can bowl good 4 overs.I hope he can get a good run in clt20

  • Lahori_Munde on June 2, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    It was a very interesting tournament., I wish it was a bit longer- atleast a week longer. Looks MLB, NBA and such leagues go on for 3-4 months..

  • ladycricfan on June 2, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    Ever smiling captain and the carefree batting style of their batsmen made them the most loveable team of the competition. Gambhir might be a competitor but a bit too serious. KXIP deserve to win the competition after their showing in the league phase. But Pandey was in their way to lift their first trophy. Better luck for IPL 8.

  • Zia999 on June 2, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    Thanks for IPL Management / Sponsors / commentators / Umpires / Player & Spectators who provide 45 days of Entertainments. Congratulations to KKR, they Deserve to be Number ONE in IPL 7th Edition. Am the Big Fan of King XII but win or lose is part of the Game they should learn from this defeat. King XII most Improved, Favorite, Aggressive team in all IPL editions power by Viru,Maxi,Miller the Killer,Bailly,Saha,Vohra ..They just need to strength their bowling Attack for next year IPL. Cheer Up Prete Zinta,you should Proud to your players they fight till the last over and beaten by a Good team. Best of Luck for next Year .

  • Mr.CricketJKNotHussey on June 2, 2014, 16:31 GMT

    The people's champions, got it right at the auction with smart buys and carried through. I don't know the lay out of the next auction, but KXIP should try to strengthen their seam attack. Sandeep is young and still learning. As he gets older and adds more pace, he can be effective when the ball doesn't swing, like Bhuvi did this season with good yorkers. Balaji is getting a bit too old and Awana is too inconsistent. So for starters, they can both be replaced with some other talent, but the management will have to see how these players perform in the Ranji season....they might just hit form. Rishi Dhawan also did well and another Ranji season should really help him bring more control to his game. Johnson has expressed his desire to focus on tests, so KXIP could look for an overseas pacer. The spinners are pretty much set. A good Ranji season for them should have them coming back next year pretty strong and with more maturity and control.

  • on June 2, 2014, 13:59 GMT

    Kings XI most loved team in IPL 7...!!!

  • Aroundthelegsgoogly on June 2, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    IPL went on for too long.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Aroundthelegsgoogly on June 2, 2014, 13:35 GMT

    IPL went on for too long.

  • on June 2, 2014, 13:59 GMT

    Kings XI most loved team in IPL 7...!!!

  • Mr.CricketJKNotHussey on June 2, 2014, 16:31 GMT

    The people's champions, got it right at the auction with smart buys and carried through. I don't know the lay out of the next auction, but KXIP should try to strengthen their seam attack. Sandeep is young and still learning. As he gets older and adds more pace, he can be effective when the ball doesn't swing, like Bhuvi did this season with good yorkers. Balaji is getting a bit too old and Awana is too inconsistent. So for starters, they can both be replaced with some other talent, but the management will have to see how these players perform in the Ranji season....they might just hit form. Rishi Dhawan also did well and another Ranji season should really help him bring more control to his game. Johnson has expressed his desire to focus on tests, so KXIP could look for an overseas pacer. The spinners are pretty much set. A good Ranji season for them should have them coming back next year pretty strong and with more maturity and control.

  • Zia999 on June 2, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    Thanks for IPL Management / Sponsors / commentators / Umpires / Player & Spectators who provide 45 days of Entertainments. Congratulations to KKR, they Deserve to be Number ONE in IPL 7th Edition. Am the Big Fan of King XII but win or lose is part of the Game they should learn from this defeat. King XII most Improved, Favorite, Aggressive team in all IPL editions power by Viru,Maxi,Miller the Killer,Bailly,Saha,Vohra ..They just need to strength their bowling Attack for next year IPL. Cheer Up Prete Zinta,you should Proud to your players they fight till the last over and beaten by a Good team. Best of Luck for next Year .

  • ladycricfan on June 2, 2014, 17:45 GMT

    Ever smiling captain and the carefree batting style of their batsmen made them the most loveable team of the competition. Gambhir might be a competitor but a bit too serious. KXIP deserve to win the competition after their showing in the league phase. But Pandey was in their way to lift their first trophy. Better luck for IPL 8.

  • Lahori_Munde on June 2, 2014, 17:46 GMT

    It was a very interesting tournament., I wish it was a bit longer- atleast a week longer. Looks MLB, NBA and such leagues go on for 3-4 months..

  • on June 2, 2014, 18:22 GMT

    Kxip didnt even try Thisara perera. He scored 49 of 20 balls in england vs srilanka match.He is a match winner . I think he was better with srh and mi who needed an good allrounder.I rank thisara above Johnson espically in t20. He can score much needed run and can bowl good 4 overs.I hope he can get a good run in clt20

  • on June 3, 2014, 3:31 GMT

    People will always talk about the fact this was the best batting vs best bowling. KXIP proved that they could take the bowling apart. What they did to Ashwin and Narine was just amazing!!! KKR won because 12 overs of STUPID/MINDLESS bowling from Balaji, Avana and Mitchell (In that order). What I don't understand is that Bailey could have switched up his bowling a bit - Viru, Maxwell especially when the wicket was turning. I mean the batsmen did ALL they could - seriously, 199 after that horrid start. Anyways - hopefully KXIP will get some decent bowling next season.

  • on June 3, 2014, 4:31 GMT

    max failed in his last 9 innings, miller was a mediocre in india leg. becos of other's teams' shooddy bowling and fielding, K11 survived. didnt find them better than SRH, KKR, MI,RR, CSK or RCB. am not comparing based on stats. they will fail terribly next season.

  • Mr.CricketJKNotHussey on June 3, 2014, 6:22 GMT

    @Arun Maya Maxwell had a 90 and two 40s in India. Miller one Punjab the match against RCB and had many other small cameos. The main reason why they "failed" was that the other batsmen like Saha, Sehwag and Bailey stepped up and Vohra came into the team. KXIP became a fearsome batting unit and not just two individuals. Hell, even Marsh did well in the two games he played. And doesn't it go to prove how good Maxi/Miller are when they performed abroad in the UAE, where barely any other batsmen got going (especially the Indian batsmen).