IPL 2017: Woeful KXIP must quickly find their best lineup or this season too could end in doom
The manner in which Kings XI were comprehensively beaten by Delhi in their IPL match will cause concern. It will also bring back not-so-fond memories of the last two campaigns where they finished last.
After starting the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in style with two victories at their second home ground of Indore, Kings XI Punjab’s form has turned for the worse with the team losing their next two matches on the road.
Granted, they have played some good opposition on their home turf, both Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils are strong teams at home, but the manner in which Kings XI have been comprehensively beaten will concern Virender Sehwag and Glenn Maxwell. It will also bring back not-so-fond memories of the last two IPL campaigns where Kings XI have finished dead last.
At the Feroz Shah Kotla, Kings XI were unable to claim a single wicket in the powerplay, despite Sandeep Sharma being miserly. Unfortunately for Sandeep and Maxwell there was no support from the other seamers throughout the innings with speedster Varun Aaron consistently losing his line and sliding down the legside. Aaron has long been considered as a player of great potential and someone who could form a great fast bowling partnership with Umesh Yadav for India. However, injuries and poor form have seen Aaron lose his way in recent times and he has looked short of a gallop in his first two matches for Kings XI this IPL season.
Aaron bowled four wides in his spell of 2/45 from four overs and his lack of control would go on to hurt Kings XI as he bowled during the middle overs but was unable to keep a lid on Delhi’s scoring rate.
Mohit Sharma’s form will also be of concern to the Kings XI hierarchy as he conceded 37 runs from his four overs, while Sandeep received plenty of punishment when he returned at the death and finished with figures of 1/41.
To strengthen the bowling and take some pressure off the Indian contingent, Kings XI may look to bring in Matt Henry, but that would require sacrificing one of their international batting stars. Unfortunately for Kings XI their batting has been just as bad as their seam bowling in the last two matches and there isn’t much depth in their Indian batting bench strength, especially with Murali Vijay missing through injury.
Manan Vohra and Hashim Amla have provided decent starts at the top of the order, without really dominating in the powerplay. Vohra’s shot selection continues to be a worry, he has fantastic ball striking ability but throws his wicket away far too often and this is reflected in his far from glorious record.
Including Martin Guptill at the top of the order could be a solution to Kings XI’s woes, but that would require making a tough call on either Amla, or Eoin Morgan who has only played one match.
Delhi’s bowlers choked the scoring of Kings XI throughout their innings and the batsmen were unable to rotate the strike or score boundaries regularly to ease the pressure. This led to loose shots from Amla, Wriddhiman Saha and captain Maxwell, all of whom holed out trying to find the boundary.
Axar Patel continues to be one shining light for Kings XI with his 44 off 29 being the only consolation in Kings XI’s 51-run hammering. Axar bowled well early, again coming on during the powerplay, and proved difficult to score off. The lanky left-arm spinner was called upon to bowl the 19th over of the Delhi innings, which is always a tough ask for a spinner and he copped the treatment from a red hot Corey Anderson which slightly ruined his figures. Despite conceding 16 in his last over Axar finished with impressive figures of 1/33 from his four overs.
In a dreadful night at the Kotla for Kings XI, the Punjab side were poor in all three facets of the game, and it started off with a below par bowling effort that allowed Delhi to score 20-30 more than KXIP would have wanted. Death overs execution has been a worry for Kings XI so far this tournament, but it was during the middle overs where they allowed Delhi to pick up boundaries too easily which set the batsman up to swing freely at the death.
If Kings XI aren’t able to quickly find their best lineup, and provide some bowling support for their spinners in particular Axar Patel, this could end up being another very long and painful tournament for Kings XI Punjab and first time captain Maxwell.
Sehwag, known for scoring runs at a rapid pace, had a strike rate of 82.2 in Tests, 104.3 in ODIs, and 145.3 in T20Is.
Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Jhye Richardson and Kane Richardson also withdrew, leaving coach Justin Langer without many of his best players four months before the Twenty20 World Cup.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has promised "relevant and appropriate action", saying each case will be considered on an individual basis.