The tide seems to have turned for the Kings XI Punjab in the second-half of the 2020 Dream11 Indian Premier League, after three wins on the trot against the top three sides as per the current points table. KL Rahul’s side were rock bottom after having played seven games, but what has followed has been wins against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals.
KXIP find themselves in fifth place, in a good position to make it to the playoffs if they can continue this winning trend. What’s caused that change in fortunes for Kings XI Punjab? Let’s find out.
Improved death bowling
Death bowling was the major concern for Kings XI Punjab in the beginning of the tournament. They conceded more than 50 runs in their first three losses of the tournament, with those late cameos going against them on the night. However, the tide seems to have turned since the game against KKR, as the Kings have managed to stop the flow of runs in the slog overs.
Chris Jordan had an economy rate of over 13 an over in the first stages of the tournament, which has now reduced to 11 an over after two good games against RCB and Mumbai. The inclusion of Arshdeep Singh has also proved to be an inspired selection for the franchise, as the young left-arm pacer has been clinical at the death, picking up crucial wickets. Finally, the experience of senior bowler Mohammed Shami has really come to the fore, perfecting those yorkers since the past couple of games.
Middle-order joins the party
Kings XI Punjab have been criticized for being a top-heavy side for the past couple of seasons in the IPL. Openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have been in sensational form this year, restricting the chances for the middle-order. The middle-order crumbled in the games against SRH and KKR this season, but they’ve managed to turn the tide with gutsy performances against table-toppers Mumbai and Delhi.
The game against Delhi in particular showed the prowess of the middle-order, as Glenn Maxwell and Nicholas Pooran managed to take the team home after a rare failure from the openers. Deepak Hooda’s inclusion has also proved to be a good move for Punjab, as the all-rounder proved his mettle in the last two matches, remaining not-out on both occasions.
Over the years, one trend that has been noticed in the IPL is that the successful sides have been the ones that have a settled team without a lot of chopping and changing. That seems to be the mantra for Kings XI Punjab too this season, as it looks as though they have found a stable XI for the second-half of IPL 2020.
This @lionsdenkxip team is a reflection of it's leadership in the classy @klrahul11 & India's greatest match winner @anilkumble1074 . I will stick my neck out and say they have a very good shot at that elusive title @IPL— Aadarsh Balakrishna (@AadarshBKrishna) October 20, 2020
KXIP made quite a few changes in the first half of the tournament, but they have made just one change in their last three games- with that being forced due to injury to Chris Jordan. The combination of going in with five specialist bowlers seems to be the way to go in IPL 2020- with the top three in the table using that formula since game one. Kings XI too have joined that bandwagon for the second-half of the competition, and it seems to be paying dividends.