IPL 2018: 5 positives that KXIP will draw from their campaign this year
The Indian Premier League is known for the intense cricketing battles and several exciting contests between the bat and ball. However an IPL as intense and as open as the 11th edition of the tournament, was far beyond one's rational imagination.
Only on the last day of the league stage was it decided that it would be Rajasthan Royals who would join Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata in the play-offs. Such was the nature of this year's IPLthat a number of games went down to the final over while a few were decided in the last ball.
One team that had a rather strange season was the Kings XI Punjab. It was a story of two halves of the tournament for them. In the first half, everything seemed to be going their way. The top order batsmen were in form and the bowlers were successful in their attempts to restrict the opposition. Since the team was winning, many flaws went unnoticed.
Punjab's fortune changed rather dramatically as they managed just a single win in the second half of the league stage. Their excellent run in the initial phase though, had ensured that Punjab were alive in the competition up until their last league encounter where they needed a massive win to fancy a chance at qualification.
However, Punjab lost that game against the Chennai Super Kings to draw curtains on their campaign this season.
Here are 5 big positives that Punjab will draw from their 2018 campaign.
#5 R Ashwin- the captain
Being a first time captain of a side is never easy. However, the Tamil Nadu cricketer did a decent job marshaling his troops.
Although Ashwin faced a lot of criticism for some of his bold moves, (promoting himself up the order or sending Axar Patel ahead of somebody like a Yuvraj Singh, to say a few) overall he did a decent job keeping in mind the limitations of his side.
That his esteemed middle order (comprising the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, David Miller, Aaron Finch, Manoj Tiwari) was not firing was a big reason to worry as a skipper. Ashwin tried to play different combinations, giving a sufficiently long run to each of the players, in hope of better performances from his side.
Mayank got 11 games, Finch featured in 10 matches, Yuvraj played 8 games while Tiwary was tried on 5 occasions and yet the Punjab middle order failed to get a working combination together.
There was hardly anything that Ashwin could have done differently than probably trying out the untried players at this level. But Ashwin went for the experienced players, which was not tactically a bad choice.
On the field with his smart moves, Ashwin got the better of the opposition on quite a few occasions. Whether it was the challenge of handling Andrew Tye or Mujeeb Rehman or for that matter deciding when to introduce himself in the bowling attack, Ashwin was spot on.
His leadership skills will be a big plus for the Punjab brigade in the long run.