Kings XI Punjab face-off against the Mumbai Indians in game #13 of the Dream 11 IPL. With both teams coming off demoralising losses, they will be keen to return to winning ways. KXIP and MI are 5th and 6th in the IPL points table respectively, having two points apiece.
In their most recent outings, MI failed in the Super Over against RCB while KXIP was stunned by RR's onslaught. Both teams will feel they missed out on an opportunity to bag two valuable points.
KXIP especially has been devoid of luck. They were cruising to victory against the Delhi Capitals and the Rajasthan Royals before ultimately ending up on the losing side.
We look at three weaknesses of KXIP that the team has to address before they face MI.
#1 A misfiring middle-order
The opening combination of Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul has set the IPL on fire. The two leading Orange Cap contenders have scored 75.21% of the team's total runs this season. This has made up for their middle order's average outing in the tournament so far.
KXIP boasts two of the biggest hitters in the form of Glenn Maxwell and Nicholas Pooran. Maxwell has scored just 19 at a strike-rate of 100 while Nicholas Pooran's scores read 0,17, and 25. In addition to this, they failed to make an impression in the Super Over against DC.
KXIP's failure to accelerate at the back-end of their innings (except at Sharjah) has cost them dearly in the past. They will be hoping that their middle-order produces some consistent fireworks going forward.
#2 Failing under pressure
Both KXIP's IPL defeats were clinched from the jaws of victory.
KXIP had DC on the backfoot at 127/6 at the end of the 19th over. The Punjab franchise leaked 30 runs off the final over to enable DC to post a competitive total.
During the chase, KXIP were on track until the last few balls. They required a single run to win with three balls to spare. Three dots and two wickets later, they were forced into a Super Over. KXIP managed just two runs in the one-over eliminator to gift their opponents the result.
In their game against RR, KXIP posted a mammoth 223/2, a total that had never been chased. KXIP seemed to have the game won when RR needed 84 runs in the last five overs.
Dismissing Sanju Samson (84 off 42) when RR still required 63 off 23 seemed like the nail in RR's coffin. KXIP still managed to lose dramatically as Rahul Tewatia's whirlwind 51 guided RR home with three balls to spare.
IPL games are won by teams that deliver during the crunch times. KXIP will be hoping to close games effectively going forward in the tournament if they wish to avoid more heartbreaking losses.
#3 Questionable bowling depth
Barring their game against RCB, where Virat Kohli's men capsized, KXIP's bowling has looked a little nervy.
If you look past Mohammed Shami and Sheldon Cottrell this IPL, no big names in the squad stand out. Krishnappa Gowthan and Chris Jordan were benched after being expensive in the first match while Glenn Maxwell's part-time spin has not had the desired impact.
With Jimmy Neesham picking up just one wicket at an economy of 8.83, KXIP will be hoping their big stars come good. Murugan Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi have impressed with their spin but they are still largely untested.
If Sheldon Cottrell or Shami have an off day (which was the case against RR when the pair leaked 105 runs at 15 rpo), the bowling will struggle and leave young captain KL Rahul looking for answers. MI can look to play out the threat of Shami and Cottrell and plunder the other bowlers which will significantly harm KXIP.
KXIP have showed that they have the ability to win their maiden IPL trophy. Addressing these concerns while continuing to back their strengths can see a new champion team crowned in IPL 2020.Published 01 Oct 2020, 17:14 IST