Following the opening two matches for Kings XI Punjab, coach Mike Hesson gave credence to the quality and depth of the squad that team has at hand this season.
KXIP won their first game against Rajasthan Royals and went down against Kolkata Knight Riders, with both the outings providing plenty of positives for the Kings, one of which was the strength of the middle order. In the two matches, the likes of Sarfaraz Khan, David Miller and Mandeep Singh have performed to help their side post competitive totals despite early wickets.
"If you talk about the previous years' squads, then you can say we were a little bit top heavy, but that's not the case right now," Hesson observed. "Because in the first two games we haven't got a huge amount of runs from the top, but we've got runs from everyone in the top six.
"We've been fortunate with Mayank (Agarwal), Sarfaraz getting runs and even Mandeep has played a couple of cameos," the Kiwi pointed out. "And even David has come in and played a role. So, I don't think the statement of being reliant on the top-order is true now. We've got power and ability all across our top six and even deeper."
In the game against KKR, Nicholas Pooran had missed out due to an injury, thereby freeing up a spot for David Miller while his compatriot Hardus Viljoen was favoured ahead of Sam Curran for his ability to bowl back of a length which suited the Eden Gardens pitch. These, however, weren't the only changes for the game.
Going into the match at the Eden Gardens, KXIP made four changes to their winning combination from the first game. The most debated of those was replacing Afghan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman with Varun Chakravarthy, who ended up having a difficult debut, giving away 19 runs off his first over and ending with figures of 1/35 off three overs. However, Hesson was very supportive towards the rookie, and for good reason.
"It was only his first game and he was nervous like anyone else playing their first game," he said. "I thought the way he came back in his second and third over was excellent and that'll give him and us a lot of confidence.
"With Andrew Tye coming back in and obviously being one of our key players, we had to make that decision in terms of our overseas players and that's why Varun came in instead of Mujeeb," he reasoned. "Generally, they are just interchangeable, and we've got to adapt to different conditions."