IPL 2019: Are Kings XI Punjab the dark horses of the season?
The race to the IPL 2019 playoffs is getting tighter with every game. The IPL points table has shaped up rather interestingly so far. While the traditional heavy-weights like Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings are sitting at the top, teams like Mumbai Indians and Sun Risers Hyderabad are struggling a bit in the competition.
And although Royal Challengers Bangalore are making headlines due to all the wrong reasons, one side has gone under the radar, minding their business without a fuss. That team is none other than Kings XI Punjab.
Given their history, KXIP are not regarded as one of the powerhouses of the IPL. Over the years, they have been the perennial under-achievers in the tournament; they are one of only three teams never to lift the IPL trophy, and have made it to the finals just once, where they lost to the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2014.
This season however, they have performed decently so far and are currently sitting at the 3rd position in the points table. The Punjab-based franchise seem to have picked up steam at the right time as they have managed to win 4 matches out of their first 6.
While everyone is betting on big names likes CSK, SRH and KKR, Kings XI Punjab may very well prove to be the dark horses of the season.
Led by an astute captain in Ravichandran Ashwin, KXIP have managed to punch above their weight so far in the tournament. They have already defeated the likes of Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians, and their comeback win against Delhi Capitals was a proof of their strong self-belief.
KXIP are clicking as a unit and at the right time. Almost every player in the team has contributed so far in the tournament, and that has been the biggest positive for them this campaign.
While everyone in their batting unit including Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, David Miller, Sarfaraz Khan and Mandeep Singh have contributed with the bat, players like Ashwin, Sam Curran, Ankit Rajpoot, and Mujeeb Ur Rehman have impressed with the ball.
However, KL Rahul’s form with the bat has now turned them into a more significant threat to the other teams. When on song, Rahul can win his team games single-handedly. He is getting his touch back, and that may make KXIP a formidable force going ahead in the tournament.
The presence of Mohammed Shami in their bowling attack has improved Punjab’s death bowling too, which is another reason behind their success so far this season.
With almost every player performing his role in the team, KXIP are looking all set to make it to the playoffs. If they can manage to keep up their performance level, then there is no reason to believe that they cannot spring a surprise or two and go all the way in the competition.