When the IPL 2020 kicked off, Kings XI Punjab was one of the title contenders. With a roster of stars – Captain KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Glenn Maxwell and Mohammed Shami – the team had all the makings to end their jinx title.
The fact that the team were coached by Anil Kumble added to the expectations. But it turned out to be another disappointing season for the Kings as they finished sixth, with a higher net run rate than the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, who also had 12 points each.
What did not go well?
Despite a few big names in its ranks, Kings XI failed to close the games. The team have lost far too many close matches, ending the tournament with just six wins.
The loss that hurt Kings XI the most was against Kolkata Knight Riders, a game he lost by two points despite his strong position.
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It ultimately had an impact on his playoff hopes. Another disappointment was Maxwell’s form.
The team spent ₹ 10.75 crore on him in the auction, but the Aussie fell short of expectations as he had a terrible season – scoring just 108 points in 13 appearances, with an average of 15.42. He hasn’t hit a single six this season.
Young spinner Ravi Bishnoi – who was part of India’s Under-19 World Cup squad this year – was the biggest find of the season. Having the opportunity to train with Kumble, the Jodhpur-based Bishnoi scalped 12 wickets and impressed with his never-say-die attitude. With the youngster, Indian rhythm ace Shami also had a season to remember – scalping 20 wickets, the most for the franchise.
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In the batting department, captain Rahul had a phenomenal season – hammering 670 points, which earned him the Orange Cap.
While his strike rate was worrying, the captain – along with Agarwal – gave the team strong starts. Agarwal missed three games with injury, but amassed 424 points – making sure the team benefited from his punches.
Chris Gayle had to be admitted to hospital with food poisoning in the middle of the tournament, but one wonders why the team management didn’t choose him in the first few games.
In a format tailor-made for him, the Universe Boss should have been in the Final XI from the start. When Gayle came back to the side, he struck at No.3 – a position not too familiar to him – but he adapted perfectly, scoring 288 points in seven games.
Management has tended to reshuffle the whole team after each season. Now with another year of disappointment we have to see if she decides to continue with similar training next year!
The hero: Chris Gayle
Matches: 7; tracks: 288; highest score: 99; average: 41.14; strike rate: 137.14; fifties: 3