Injuries to key players, the ineffectiveness of their overseas fast bowlers, and an inability to win key moments in the Powerplay overs were the reasons behind Kings XI Punjab's failure to qualify for the IPL playoffs, their captain R Ashwin has said.
Speaking to the media after Kings XI's eight-wicket defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders, Ashwin said injuries - Varun Chakravarthy (finger) and Mujeeb-ur-Rahman (shoulder) missed large parts of the tournament - forced Kings XI to look beyond plans developed ahead of the auction, but maintained that the reasons for not qualifying this season were poor Powerplay performances across the tournament.
"Yes, we haven't been up to the ball-mark this year," Ashwin said. "We had a few challenges going into this year from last year, we had a few options, we picked up a few people [at the auction] and they've got injured. So that's not ideally how we'd like to look at it. We definitely put our best team we could in the park and we've tried our best and there have been a lot of positives that have come out of this season.
"One of the areas we've definitely lacked is the Powerplay, both with the ball and the bat - in hindsight if we look at it. Because last year we had a great Powerplay batting with Chris [Gayle] and KL [Rahul] but this year we couldn't get off to great starts obviously because the pressure was on them and they had to do a job. But we have to address this going into the next year because we've lost most games on Powerplay battles."
Ashwin also said Kings XI were banking on Andrew Tye, the Purple cap winner from IPL 2018, to come good this season too, but admitted that the Australian wasn't "very good this season". Tye took just three wickets in five outings and returned an economy rate of more than 10 per over, but Ashwin expected the fast bowler to learn from the experience.
"When you have your overseas seamers and overseas bowlers, you definitely bank on them," Ashwin said. "It's like some sort of a banking over. But like I said, Powerplay has been one of our massive problems, most games we've won is through the middle overs or sometimes at the death where we've had some incredible performances by [Mohammed] Shami or Sam [Curran].
"In hindsight, bowlers go through such phases. AJ [Tye] had a fantastic IPL last year but it's also about batsmen coming after him in different methods. He's definitely tried hard. It's not lack of efforts that he's not been very good this year. But I'm sure he will definitely get better as a cricketer, he's quite a smart cricketer, he tries to give everything on the field. These sort of phases are quite common in a cricket career but I'm sure he will learn from this."