David Miller and Glenn Maxwell gone in the same over twice in two matches. Taking on the best bowler in the opposition. Matches lost right there.
In Mohali, Dwayne Bravo had telegraphed a slower ball to Miller by bringing the third man up for the final ball of the over. Miller was still beaten comprehensively. In Delhi, Amit Mishra had already taken two big wickets, yet Maxwell went after the first flighted delivery he got. In Mohali, you could have perhaps blamed the slowdown by the top order on a flat pitch, but in Delhi, they needed to bat more responsibly after a slow start on a slow pitch.
Maxwell and Miller are not similar batsmen, but they play similar roles for their national teams. Australia and South Africa are two formidable batting units, and their job is to dazzle. They can afford to do that because there are others in their team who can play the steady role. Kings XI had George Bailey to do that once. Now, it is a batting line-up that Miller and Maxwell must carry. Miller, though, said changing their games might not be the best way to go about it.
"I have the same mind-set going into every game," Miller, the Kings XI captain, said. "I do the same processes. I stick to whatever I have done in the past. I just would like to clear my mind, and I have been very clear. I am hitting the ball very nicely. As a batsman, I believe you need to go out there with the mind-set that has worked for you in the past. So I am going to stick to what has worked for me."
Miller, though, admitted some of the shot selection might not have been the best. He was asked if it might have been wise to not go after the best bowler, and Mishra was bowling really well on a slow pitch.
"Obviously you have go to assess conditions, and he was bowling really well, but at the same time I think I want to try to encourage batsmen to - I mean it's only T20 - we want to encourage each other to express ourselves and play with a lot of freedom," Miller said. "There is a very fine line between that and irresponsibility. So I mean it was just one of those things: he bowled really well, you have to give him credit. It is something we might have to chat about in the next couple of games."
About playing big shots that early against Mishra, Miller said: "It most probably wasn't needed to be honest. But I do back whatever decision they make on the field. On the other hand if Marsh had hit him for six, everyone would have been praising him. It's one of those instances where he felt like he should be taking him on at that stage, and it is turning into him. Being a left-hander I don't see it as a bad shot. I thought the shot was on. He just missed the ball. It was catch 22."
If Kings XI's big batsmen are to back themselves to play their natural games, they really need flat pitches and perhaps be the side chasing. They travel on Saturday and then play on Sunday and Tuesday - but those are home games where they can ask for flat pitches. Given the way they are batting, it is unlikely they will get any flat pitches on the road.