For the fourth year in a row, he is among the top three scorers in the IPL but his strike rate has been dipping
They had a promising start in the first season, but haven’t enjoyed consistent success, lacking a stable core. In October 2010, the IPL governing council expelled Punjab and the Rajasthan Royals from the league, alleging transgression of shareholding and ownership norms. The matter reached the courts, and both franchises were reinstated, but the uncertainty affected the Punjab’s plans for the auction in 2011, where they had a chance to rebuild their team. Their coach, Michael Bevan, was appointed just four days before the auction, which left little time to plan their bidding strategy, and they ended up not retaining any players.
After three more middling years, they hit a sweet spot in the 2014 auction, assembling an exciting team under Sanjay Bangar as coach and going on to top the league stage and lose a closely fought final against KKR, while also reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League T20. But they haven’t quite been able to build on those gains since.
A new-look team, captained by George Bailey, set a scorching pace in 2014. Glenn Maxwell – who finished as player of the tournament – started with a slew of marauding innings, ably supported by David Miller. Punjab topped the table with 11 wins in 14 matches, but they narrowly lost the final despite piling up 199.
They finished as wooden spooners three times: in 2010, 2015 and 2016. The 2015 season was particularly galling, coming as it did after their best year. They won only three games and lost 11 in 2015.
Shaun Marsh came to international attention with a blockbuster season, scoring 616 runs and driving Punjab to the knockouts after they won 11 out of their 14 league games. They lost to the Chennai Super Kings in the semi-final by nine wickets.
They tied for points on the table with the Deccan Chargers – the eventual champions – but had a considerably lower net run rate, so they didn’t qualify for the semi-finals. Punjab didn’t have any standout performances in the tournament, played in South Africa, and they would have finished seventh if the Mumbai Indians had not messed up a modest chase against them.
Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara made over 800 runs between them, and Irfan Pathan contributed all round, but Punjab seemed to lose the vital moments. They won only one out of their first eight games. The losses were often close, but without the points to show for it, they wilted, eventually finishing bottom of the heap.
Punjab missed out on a spot in the knockouts this year. Adam Gilchrist led a revamped team; Marsh remained and produced another stellar season. The rest of the batting and bowling was adequate and consistent without being spectacular, which reflected in their eventual position.
The bowlers, led by Parvinder Awana and Piyush Chawla, outperformed the batsmen this season, although their top scorer, Mandeep Singh, did get the Emerging Player of the Year award. Punjab finished sixth out of nine teams, though the teams placed fourth and fifth had only one point more.
The high point of their season came when David Miller announced himself on the big stage with a 38-ball unbeaten century against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, but overall they had a middling tournament, with eight wins and eight losses.
They were the clear leaders in the group stage, with 11 wins. Maxwell and Miller had a great season with the bat; Virender Sehwag contributed a vital century in the second qualifier, but in the final, despite a hundred from Wriddhiman Saha, Punjab went down in a thrilling last-over finish against KKR.
Everything that could go pear-shaped did. Maxwell averaged 13 over 11 innings, and though Miller was their highest run getter, he was a shadow of his 2014 self. Only three wins in the league stage meant Punjab were consigned to the bottom of the table.
Another dismal season. Their fortunes were reflected in their final league match, against Rising Pune Supergiant. Both teams were on eight points, battling to avoid a bottom finish, and Punjab seemed to have the upper hand defending 23 off the final over. But MS Dhoni hit a four and two sixes off the last three balls to seal victory for Pune.
Maxwell was made captain, and Punjab enjoyed a better season than their previous two, but they were bowled out for 73, their lowest total in the IPL so far, against Rising Pune Supergiant in a game they needed to win to be in contention for a playoff spot.
The squad underwent another change after another major auction, and R Ashwin was appointed captain. They won five of their first six matches but then found their fortunes reversed, getting a solitary win from their next eight games. The bright spot was KL Rahul’s 659 runs, the third highest aggregate of the season.
Punjab finished on six wins and 12 points, but one spot higher on the table than the previous year. If one close defeat had turned into victory, they would have been in the playoffs, but despite quality performances from Rahul, Ashwin and Mohammed Shami, they weren’t consistent enough.
Punjab ended the season with six wins and 12 points again. Their season was a rollercoaster, with just one win to show from several agonisingly close games in the first half, followed by five consecutive victories in a late surge for a playoff spot, but they were unable to sustain that momentum.
He was bought for Rs 11 crore ($1.7 million) in the 2018 auction and has been the leading run scorer for the franchise in every season since. He was appointed captain ahead of the 2020 edition and was the top run scorer in the tournament that season.Chris Gayle
Bought at the very end of the 2018 auction, Gayle shrugged off some middling T20 returns to become a batting lynchpin for the side. In just 31 matches, he has scored over 1100 runs at an average and strike rate comparable to the best. His six-hitting ability over the years has been remarkable.Shaun Marsh
Statistically the most successful batsman for Punjab so far, Marsh did not have a single bad season in over ten years with the team, piling up runs quietly and effectively. His career took off on the back of the first IPL, but while he experienced ups and downs elsewhere, he was rock solid for Punjab, as nearly 2500 runs show.David Miller
Another batsman who grabbed global attention with his feats for Punjab. He has even captained the team, though not with great success, and for eight seasons he was one of the few constants in a side otherwise in constant flux.