Kings XI's overseas-batsmen-Indian-bowler plan fails
Where they finished
Fifth, with seven wins and seven defeats.
Hashim Amla had his breakthrough IPL season. In his second year in the league, Amla topped the Kings XI Punjab run charts, making 420 runs at an average of 60 and strike rate of 146. He filled the void created by M Vijay's injury, and Kings XI sorely missed him in their must-win game against Rising Pune Supergiant to make the playoffs; Amla had left for South Africa duty by then.
Fast bowler Sandeep Sharma and allrounder Axar Patel showcased their skills at various points. Sandeep was Man of the Match in successive games, for his 4 for 20 against Delhi Daredevils, and for dismissing Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers against Royal Challengers Bangalore. He finished with 17 wickets, and was the joint highest wicket-taker in the Powerplay - nine and an economy of less than seven - along with Mitchell McClenaghan. Axar was Kings XIs second highest wicket-taker with 15, and scored his 227 runs at a strike rate of 140.
Legspinner Rahul Tewatia had been bought for INR 25 lakh at the auction but didn't play until late in the league phase. Tewatia took 2 for 18 in his first game, dismissing Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa against Kolkata Knight Riders. In all, Tewatia bowled nine overs in the tournament and conceded only 49 runs.
Kings XI struggled to finish well with the ball. They conceded 10.37 an over in the last five overs. Only Gujarat Lions were worse.
Kings XI did not start well either, with bat and ball. They lost 25 wickets in the first six overs of the innings. Only RCB and Daredevils lost more. The 17 wickets they took in the Powerplay was the lowest after KKR's 16.
Their contingent of overseas players contained too many batsmen, and only Amla pulled his weight. David Miller was benched after making 83 runs in five games, and Shaun Marsh, Eoin Morgan and Martin Guptill were patchy.
Glenn Maxwell fared better, making 310 at a strike rate of 173, but played himself too low in the batting order. He finished the season having played only 18 balls in the Powerplay, and scored only 11 runs off them for three dismissals.
Kings XI had stayed alive by winning two successive games in the last week of the league, and now needed to win their final match to seal a playoff spot. But they subsided for 73 - their lowest IPL total - against Rising Pune. The lack of fight drew the wrath of Kings XI's director of cricket Virender Sehwag, who slammed Maxwell and the overseas batsmen for not taking responsibility.
Kings XI had bought eight players at the auction in February and they played only 28 matches in total. Darren Sammy and Rinku Singh did not play a game, while Morgan and Varun Aaron, among their most expensive purchases, did nothing of note. Ishant Sharma, who was Vijay's replacement, went wicketless in all his six games and conceded nearly 10 an over. Kings XI splurged nearly INR 8 crore on Ishant, T Natarajan, who was underused, and Aaron; money that could have been spent more wisely.
The missing ingredient
Allrounders. Apart from Axar, they only had Marcus Stoinis, who made 17 runs in three innings and took two wickets in five, while going at 10.47 an over. Maxwell bowled himself sparingly despite being economical, with seven wickets in 14 matches at 6.57.
Out of their control
Wrist and shoulder injuries ruled Vijay out of the tournament. They also lost Amla at a crucial stage. Guptill's hamstring trouble kept him out of the first half of the season and he never took off after regaining fitness.
Akshay Gopalakrishnan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo