Kings XI Punjab IPL 2015 review May 16, 2015

Stubborn approach drags Kings XI to rock-bottom

A sameness to their approach, and a stubborn adherence to last year's strategies were the main reasons for Kings XI Punjab's slide in IPL 2015
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Despite missing out on opportunities at No. 5, David Miller was still Kings XI's best batsman this season © BCCI

Overview

There were 11 fifties scored by five Kings XI batsmen, two overseas and three Indians, last IPL.  There were two centurions, too: Virender Sehwag and Wriddhiman Saha. This season there have been just five fifties - by three overseas players. There were six bowlers who got wickets in double-digits last season. This season only Anureet Singh, Axar Patel and Sandeep Sharma have managed to get 10-plus wickets.

Kings XI's victorious run to the final last season was the story of the IPL. They remained the story of this IPL, too, but the plot was different: how did they manage the fast slide from runners-up to rock-bottom?

There was a sameness to Kings XI's approach this season, at times bordering on the tiring. Even Sanjay Bangar, their coach, finally admitted that the team was glued to the strategies used last season. Such stubbornness only proved to be calamitous.

Even as hard-hitting openers like Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan and Robin Uthappa were making bold statements, the experienced Kings XI opening pair of Sehwag and M Vijay failed to adapt to the demands of the fast-paced format. Take out David Miller, and to an extent George Bailey, and the middle order was as weighty as candyfloss.

Even the bowling, which was penetrative and diverse last year, was miserable. Although the Indian trio of Anureet, Sandeep and Axar strived, they seemed stretched by the inability of Mitchell Johnson to provide the momentum. Johnson probably was stretched and tired himself and might have guarded against trying too hard keeping the Ashes in mind.

High point

Rajasthan Royals raised 191 in the afternoon heat at Motera. Kings XI needed two runs per ball at the halfway stage. It became 14 off the last over from James Faulkner. With five needed for a victory from the final ball, Axar Patel hit a four to tie the match. Shaun Marsh, the top-scorer in the chase with 65, hit three fours in a row against Morris, who had got Miller first ball of the one-over eliminator. Johnson bowled a tight line to get rid of Shane Watson and then Faulkner was run out to clinch the thriller.

Low point

Before they were dismissed for 88 against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI were the only team to have played all eight IPLs and never been bowled out for less than 100. That 88 is the lowest total this season. Another record that will not be erased soon: seven batsmen were bowled, the highest ever for that mode of dismissal in an IPL innings.

Top of the class

David Miller is the only player to have scored 1000 runs for Kings XI since 2012. He is their second-highest run-getter overall after Shaun Marsh. Miller has made a 50-plus score four times at a strike-rate of at least 200 and is the only player to do so in IPL history. It remains a mystery as to why he was never promoted up the batting order.

Royal Challengers pushed AB de Villiers to No. 3 knowing very well that if he lasted for more than five overs he could create mayhem. Yet Miller walked in at No. 5, mostly to rebuild and repair the irreparable damage caused due to the collapsed of the preceding batsmen. Still the South African managed to finish as the best batsman with two fifties, the second of which was a late flourish that nearly shocked Sunrisers Hyderabad in a high-scoring chase that Kings XI lost by five runs.

Under-par performer

Virender Sehwag, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Johnson were consistent failures. All three men had important roles to perform: Sehwag had to provide robust starts, Maxwell was entrusted with providing the aggression in the middle and his inimitable dashing cameos at the end, while Johnson was supposed to instil doubt and fear in the batsmen. All three failed badly.

Tip for 2016

Find a quality top-order batsman and a good spinner, preferably a legspinner. If anything, the downfall would have taught Kings XI that while reaching the top is difficult, it is harder to stay at the top.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • joseph on May 19, 2015, 5:04 GMT

    Vijay was noticed by his t20 performance. But after his wait and play performance in Test matches, he is not able to switch to t20 mode. Though he score more than run a ball, but as a top order batsman, he either has to strike as same as other teams or atleast stay for 10 overs. Surely he will come good. Remember he was player of the tournament for one of the champions league

  • Dummy4 on May 18, 2015, 14:56 GMT

    The captainship of Bailey lacked aggressiveness..He was dependant only on the head coach to guide him.He was not fully fit but continued to play.He was dependant on Johnson and not used the indian bowlers properly.If he is continued Punjab will remain last for ever..

  • Nilesh on May 18, 2015, 14:51 GMT

    I am a bit surprised that the coaching staff led by Sanjay Bangar has been inflexible. I was really surprised that Awana did not even get a single game. Anureet Singh was very good at the beginning of the tournament although he did seem to lose some intensity and penetration at the latter half (or maybe the batsmen figured out how to handle him better) and he could have been rested for a couple of games. Either due to form or confusion, it wasn't clear who their top 4 overseas players would be on a given day (although Bailey and Miller were usually in the 4). Johnson and Maxwell were definitely out of form as compared to last year. The fact that Sehwag was also out of form compounded their batting problems. Could consider Saha as a regular opener next year. A spinner like Amit Mishra or Imran Tahir or Shreyas Gopal would be a good addition.

  • Dummy4 on May 18, 2015, 10:55 GMT

    The Australians had the overdose of their World Cup victory. Come next season they will show their hunger.

  • Steve on May 18, 2015, 10:37 GMT

    Kings XI needs a complete overhaul including coaching staff. Don't expect to see Shewag, Vijay, Saha, Johnson and Maxwell for next year.

  • Alex on May 18, 2015, 7:39 GMT

    Problem was bailey. He is neither good captain or t20 batsman. Punjab should have made miller captain long time ago. or even shaun marsh. Benching sehwag also not a good sign. They better not sign him next season , if they sign him he has to go play all games.

  • Aju on May 18, 2015, 7:15 GMT

    The main mistake was playing Anureet through out the tournament..Have you seen his bowling figure..it was getting worst..Still played him through out the tournament..why ??...He could have dropped in between and should have allowed him to have a good come back....Changing Vohra-Sehwag combo was again another mistake...Maxwell should bat at no 3 through out...Once knew that Johnson was out of touch why cant they play another batsman instead of Johnson and pick another Indian bowler..Shaun Marsh after performing well got dropped...I respect Sanjay Bangar..but this time his tactics was not good...really disappointed with Kings 11 performance this year...I hope they will come back strongly next year for sure...they should find some good Indian players too for next year...

  • Dummy4 on May 18, 2015, 6:20 GMT

    Couldn't have dissected the problem better!

  • Vaibhav on May 17, 2015, 20:04 GMT

    team for next season:

  • Dummy4 on May 16, 2015, 18:37 GMT

    They need west indies player

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