IPL 2019 Season Review: Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders
Kings XI Punjab managed to finish their season on a positive note with a win in their last group match against Chennai Super Kings. They finished sixth on the points table with 12 points, including 6 wins and 8 losses.
Kolkata Knight Riders would have ensured a fourth-place finish had they won their last match against Mumbai Indians, but a poor performance saw them ruthlessly dispatched. They finished fifth on the points table with 12 points, including 6 wins and 8 losses.
It was a similar story for both teams: they both had good starts to the season but a poor second half saw them out of contention for the playoffs. Losses towards the end of the season hurt Punjab while a series of consecutive losses in the middle of the group stage spoil Kolkata's chances.
A season of individual performances for Kings XI Punjab
Multiple players had good seasons for Kings XI Punjab this year, but a lack of a coherent team performance hurt them badly.
KL Rahul led with 593 runs in 14 innings with one century and six half-centuries, followed by Chris Gayle with 490 runs and Mayank Agarwal with 332 runs. Nicholas Pooran impressed with his aggressive strokeplay in the seven matches that he played. David Miller was the only other batsman to score over 200 runs.
The lack of a power hitter in the lower order was a concern throughout the season, forcing one of the top order batsmen, often KL Rahul, to bat through the innings.
Mohammed Shami and Ravichandran Ashwin were the leading bowlers with 19 and 15 wickets respectively, Shami in particular, impressing with his pace. The two Ashwins - Ravichandran and Murugan - were the only bowlers with an economy rate below 8.
Andrew Tye's poor form following an exceptional 2018 season was a problem that was offset by Sam Curran and Hardus Viljoen's 17 wickets, but both struggled to contain the batsmen, conceding close to 10 runs an over each.
A power hitter in the lower order and a batting all-rounder, who can play in the top six, will be what Kings XI Punjab should be looking for next year. Backup spin bowling options should also be considered in light of the injuries sustained by Mujeeb and Varun Chakravarthy.
The season of Andre Russell for Kolkata Knight Riders
Andre Russell often won matches single-handedly for Kolkata Knight Riders this year, leading with 510 runs and 11 wickets, the most by any batsman or bowler in the team.
Two of the most valued players in the team - Robin Uthappa and Sunil Narine - had horrible seasons this year, Uthappa struggling with his strike rate and Narine struggling with an injury to his spinning finger.
Dinesh Karthik had a poor start to the season and found himself under pressure as captain following a series of losses midway through the season, but managed to find some form towards the end.
Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, and Nitish Rana had good seasons with the bat, scoring 405, 344, and 296 runs respectively. A majority of Gill's runs came after his promotion to an opening batsman, which is where he should be batting long term.
Narine, Piyush Chawla, and Harry Gurney were the other standout bowlers for Kolkata, but all of them struggled to take wickets constantly, evident by bowling averages above 34 for each of them. A horror season for Kuldeep Yadav - 4 wickets at an average of 71.5 - didn't help the team's bowling either.
A stronger bowling attack will be what Kolkata Knight Riders should be looking for next year if they are to better support their batsmen. Increased role clarity would also help, especially in how to get the most out of Andre Russell in the tournament.
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