The Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) have just four wins from their ten games, and need to win all their remaining matches to qualify for the playoffs.
However, the Kings XI have been on a roll, winning three consecutive matches after a disastrous start. It is worth noting that these victories have come against the top three teams (MI, DC, and RCB), effectively taking KXIP from the status of bottom-dwellers to that of giant-slayers.
In their next match, KXIP will be up against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) - a side with a record similar to their own. The weekend clash becomes all the more important with an opportunity to get closer to fourth place on the line.
With that being said, here are the things that KXIP can do to ensure that they win their fourth consecutive game.
1. Use the medium-pacers effectively against the SRH openers
The SRH openers Johnny Bairstow and David Warner haven't clicked together this year, as compared to the carnage that they unleashed in 2019. However, despite the absence of big opening stands, the two batsmen have scored some runs individually.
Bairstow and Warner have both shown that they have no problem with pace on the ball, and Bairstow especially has been good against spin as well this year. Hence, it would make sense for KXIP to ensure that Arshdeep Singh and Chris Jordan get a good crack at the SRH openers with their speeds not going too far beyond 130 km/h. At the very least, this would tire the openers out since they would have to use their power in the sweltering Dubai heat.
This, in effect, would also allow KXIP to save Mohammad Shami, who is high on super-over confidence, for the death overs.
2. Bring in Sheldon Cottrell in place of Glenn Maxwell
Sheldon Cottrell was impressive at the beginning of the season, first against DC and then against RCB, but a few expensive spells in later games saw him being left out of the team. This, by no means, is enough to write off the value that Cottrell can add with the ball, especially for a side like KXIP whose bowling unit is relatively weak.
Glenn Maxwell, on the other hand, has been picked in the squad for every game that the Punjab franchise has featured in, irrespective of his poor performances. The highly-rated Australian all-rounder has managed all of 90 runs in 9 innings.
Maxwell averages 15 with a high score of 32, but his strike rate of 103.44 has been more alarming than anything else. Things haven't been going in his favour, and it might be time for KXIP to look past their costliest buy of the season.
With the addition of Deepak Hooda, who can at the very least replicate Maxwell's current impact with bat and ball, it would be ideal for Sheldon Cottrell to come back in and boost the team's bowling. With KXIP's batting line-up starting to look good beyond just their openers, this move could go a long way in getting them a win.
3. Play out Rashid Khan and attack the rest of the SRH bowlers
The SRH bowling line-up, barring Rashid Khan, has not looked too impressive this season, especially with paceman Bhuvaneshwar Kumar having been injured early on. KXIP should look to use this to their advantage, given that their strength has been their batting, and go after the SRH bowling.
However, they still need to be wary of Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, as a misguided attack against him could prove to be disastrous for the KXIP side. Khan has bowled at a miserly economy rate of 5.47 this season, having picked up 12 wickets from his ten games. Batsmen haven't had their best time while attacking him.
Given that the rest of the SRH bowling is either new to the tournament or haven't fared too well, KXIP can attack them from the word go and swing momentum in their favour.Published 24 Oct 2020, 16:45 IST