IPL 2017 May 15, 2017

Kings XI's overseas-batsmen-Indian-bowler plan fails


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Agarkar: Amla the only standout overseas player

Where they finished

Fifth, with seven wins and seven defeats.

The good

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.

The bad


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.

What Glenn Maxwell said after their campaign © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

The ugly


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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kshitij_sri on May 22, 2017, 16:29 GMT

    Now I feel bad for both Kings XI and Ishant. Ishant told in an interview that he was planning to play county cricket in England , which would have been hugely beneficial for the Indian test team considering they would be touring abroad soon. But instead, Sehwag bought him to play for Kings XI in a format where Ishant struggles despite having enough indian pacers like Aaron, Sandeep, Natarajan, Mohit and Anureet. I hope Sehwag never joins the Indian team as an advisor.

  • cricfan83946791 on May 19, 2017, 16:18 GMT

    Amla Vohra Marsh Saha Maxwell Sammy Axar Tewatia Mohit Sandeep Natarajan

  • D.S.A on May 17, 2017, 2:05 GMT

    Secondly, why has this correspondent bracketed Marsh with Morgan as being "patchy"? Lol, was he even watching them? Marsh batted o.k, despite being out of position, while Morgan was only looking for a score, at any strike-rate, to justify further selection. Buying Morgan, Guptill, Ishant and not using Sammy was Sehwag's big idea, and now he moans about them. He is an awful coach, who wants the glory when it is there, and none of the criticism when it comes. His squad selection in the auction shows he has no strategic intellect whatsoever. His arrogance is beyond comparison. Part 2.

  • D.S.A on May 17, 2017, 1:45 GMT

    Firstly, in the team's preview, before the IPL began, written by Shashank Kishore, it hilariously suggested that one of the team's strengths is its overseas batsmen ("three of the world's best limited-overs players aren't guaranteed a spot in the starting XI"), which assumed Marsh, Amla and Guptill would be on the bench, with Maxwell, Miller and Morgan being in the eleven! The link is here: http://www.espncricinfo.com/indian-premier-league-2017/content/story/1089897.html. Now, a different correspondent is writing the review, and with hindsight, cites the overseas batsmen as the problem, lol. Also, the preview spoke of the domestic bowling attack, and Ishant's contribution of "experience". Goodness me. Still living off of some spell against Ponting in a Test match some years ago... Part 1.

  • RiseAnj on May 16, 2017, 14:28 GMT

    good bunch of players but didn't utilized well.

  • wpbus13 on May 16, 2017, 13:38 GMT

    Teams that struggle to get their balance right could take a page out of the Mumbai and Kolkata playbooks. They have the right people in place managing their cricket operations. You don't need to look any further than Venky Mysore of the Knight Riders as an example.

  • cricfan73039108 on May 16, 2017, 13:11 GMT

    Sehwag is the one who is responsible for Punjab not qualifying to playoffs. The moment he selected run machine ishant sharma as a replacement for vijay Punjab dis year's ipl campaign was doomed. Instead of selecting ishant he could have selected a young unmukt chand as a replacement for vijay. This selection of ishant shows that sehwag does not have qualities to be a good coach or mentor. So i finally say that coaching is not sehwag's cup of tea he should better concentrate on tweeting in Twitter by entertaining peoples & earn money & be away from coaching job.

  • arup_g on May 16, 2017, 13:09 GMT

    Totally agree - too many batsmen, not enough bowling strength. The fact that they couldn't play Guptill (a very destructive batsman) was a big loss.

    Playing only Indian bowlers is always a risk, but especially when they are expensive ones like Ishant & Aaron. Big priority for Punjab in the auction will be to get their balance right.

  • woody3 on May 16, 2017, 12:38 GMT

    Part of what England had to learn was to be prepared to implode to give yourself a chance a winning. Sehwags bat 12-15 overs line means next season he should put in a bid for Cook or Trott to open, they will do that every time. Take away the licence of players like Maxwell and you will do what England did for years, post respectable losing totals. Bottom line is those overseas players tried to score fast in a must win game on a slow track, if they had played sensible innings the team batting second have the advantage of knowing exactly how to pace the chase. So it was go for it, have a chance, or bat sensibly and almost definitely lose. The praise of Amlas centuries highlights this - both games were lost.

  • Azizul84 on May 16, 2017, 12:29 GMT

    when you have two times world t20 winner champion in the camp and do not play him you are bound to lose like that. It is not fault of maxwell. Rather it is the bakwas team management who is responsible for doing bad. Actually I will contradict myself that king 11 have done very well to remain in the context of play off until last match. Sewhag may be a good cricketer but as a mentor clueless. A man like him who speak his heart openly do not deserve to be mentoring role. If any team fails, this failure belongs to everybody as success belongs to every body. He wants to take the share of success but not share of failure.

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