Finally Punjab get one over the line
Kings XI once again managed to make a thrilling match of what was supposed be an easy victory for them, and almost ended up tying the game from being in a commanding position to win it just couple of overs back. But the last ball six from Pooran finally managed to give them their second victory, interestingly both coming against the same opposition RCB.
1. Mistake of not sending in ABD in his usual spot?
Virat won the toss and elected to bat first, and once the openers got out after a decent start, there was surprise change in the RCB batting order when Sundar came in at no.4 in the 7th over.This decision surprised all the commentators and the fans, because after all it was ABD’s brilliance that won the last game for RCB. But there was some thought gone into this decision to hold back AB, considering his and Virat’s struggles against leg spin in the past couple of seasons, ABD having dismissed 8 times in his last 22 innings by a leggie, and KXIP playing 2 leggies.
But not sending AB even in the 11th over when Sundar got out, was probably a big mistake that cost RCB around 20-25 runs in their final tally, after all your best and inform players must face as many deliveries as possible, surely AB would have handled the bowling much better than Sundar and Dube, with all respect to both of them. RCB did miss a trick trying to change things up.
2. Change in bowling tactics
One thing that RCB will be buoyed about this season is their bowling attack, especially in the death overs, which looks far better compared to previous season. The general bowling tactic that RCB followed was to use Washington Sundar up top in the powerplay, where he has been extremely economical, going at about 4 RPO. But this wasn’t the case in this match as Sundar wasn’t thrown the ball till the 9th over, probably because that Agarwal and Rahul are both good players of spin and were in great form.
Another mistake from VK was choosing Siraj for the crucial 17th over, even when your designated death over bowler Udana, had 3 overs still left in the bag, and the fact that Siraj went for 20 runs, almost sealed the match, which was almost handed back to RCB by the kings, just to snatch it in the last ball.
3. Gayle not opening... yet delivers
When we think of Gayle, it is always at the top, coming to open the innings, he has done this all throughout his
career. He has opened in 388 of the 397 innings that he has played, which is a staggering 98%. So when the regular pairing of Rahul and Mayank came out to open for Kings, it was surprising that the Universe Boss will not be opening an innings, given that he was fit.
But Gayle did not disappoint on his return to the playing 11 for the first time this season, as he made the no.3 position his own, scoring a half century and almost taking his team home until he was ran out. It would be really interesting to see if the KXIP think tank continue with playing Gayle at the no.3 position or would move him back up to open the innings.
4. Punjab almost Choke again
Chasing a 172 for victory, the King’s were well in control of their chase, with Mayank, Rahul and Gayle being in great form. By the end of the 17th over where Siraj conceded 20 runs, the match looked dead and buried, with 11 runs required of the last 18 balls with 9 wickets in hand, and well set pair of Rahul and Gayle at the center, with both having completed their half centuries.
But KXIP once again made a mockery of themselves, as the almost let the match slide from their hands, as Morris and Udana bowled a very tight 18th and 19th over conceding just 4 and 5 runs respectively. With 2 required off the last over, VK threw the ball to Chahal, who bowled brilliantly, tossing the ball up and Gayle and Rahul were unable to get the ball away, with 1 required off 2, a quick single attempt led to Gayle being run out and the thought of the previous matches came back to haunt Punjab. Finally Pooran came in and finished the match of by hitting a six, which was not too far from being caught at boundary by Morris.
Both the teams were left wondering how the match came to such a situation, and for RCB, what could have been, if not those 3 wides in the 18th and 19th overs.But KXIP have to find way to finish off matches, especially when they are in such commanding positions.
5. The path ahead for both the teams
RCB still sit at no.3 spot in the points table, and require 3 more wins from their remaining 6 matches to confirm their berth in the playoffs. They will be very wary of the fact that they can’t loose focus and slip up at this stage and would be looking to make a strong come back against a battered Rajasthan side on Saturday, although two straight losses to the last team on the points table would have hurt RCB’s moral a little.
As far as Kings XI are concerned, they are very happy to record another win, although the chances of making it to the playoffs still looks bleak at best, as they are required to win all their remaining matches to get a sure place in the playoffs or hope for some miracle.
But one thing is for certain, if they are to win more matches, they have to improve their finishing skills, both with ball and even more so while batting.