Several times this season, the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) have lost matches that were well within their grasp in ways that were hard to explain. In sweet revenge for their fans, they subjected the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) to one such morale-sapping loss and made it four wins in four.
The KXIP batting innings never really found rhythm. Mayank Agarwal's absence probably hurt the team as nobody, not even the usually aggressive Nicholas Pooran, scored at a strike rate of more than 121. A large part of that was due to a complete team bowling and fielding effort by SRH which kept KXIP down to just 126/7 from their quota of 20 overs.
It instantly seemed as if the target would be well short of reasonable, with David Warner striking the ball well. With 56 on the board after 6.2 overs, the match looked done and dusted unless KXIP got wickets, which they slowly but surely started to pick up.
Last game's winning partnership of Manish Pandey and Vijay Shankar looked sorely lacking in inspiration, as they allowed one of the smallest totals they would have chased slowly swell up till it became too much for them and the rest of their team.
In this inexplicable contest that seemed to be headed one way for about 38 overs of it, several players struggled with bat in hand. Here are the top three underperformers from the match.
#3 Abdul Samad (SRH)
Go on, finish the match off, is probably what the SRH team management would have said to young power-hitter Abdul Samad. Even a partnership of 30-odd in decent time would have shut the door on KXIP and made the result a formality.
Probably motivated to take his chances, Samad chose to take a risk in the final over of KXIP pace spearhead Mohammed Shami. It would have gone over the fielder's head 9 out of 10 times, but Chris Jordan timed his leap to scalp Samad's wicket. The youngster unwittingly plunged SRH into a slow, game-turning phase.
#2 Glenn Maxwell (KXIP)
When Glenn Maxwell entered the field of play, KXIP had scored 66 off the first 10. With the in-form Nicholas Pooran at the other end, it was the right time for Maxwell to tee off against SRH, get some quick runs under his belt and set up a good total for his team, quite similar to what KKR had done earlier in the day.
Eventually, though, all Maxwell could manage was 12 runs off his 13 balls. He has been unable to clear the fence this IPL with his torrid form for KXIP often forgiven due to his potential, and even in this innings, he could not hit a single boundary. Maxwell's departure put immense pressure on Pooran to set up the total for KXIP, and exposed KXIP's tail.
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#1 Manish Pandey (SRH)
In his last innings, Manish Pandey reminded the IPL of his immense value as a top-order batsman. He followed that up with an innings that was enough to cancel the good done by the previous knock twice over.
It hardly ever happens in an IPL game that a team loses when chasing at little more than 5 runs an over with nine wickets in hand. A large part of how SRH achieved that was Pandey's slow-a-thon, as he ate dots for breakfast and was content to just occupy the crease in a T20 match.
Pandey was dismissed by an excellent, game-changing catch, but his 15 off 29 had already made the impossible possible for KXIP. SRH's batting line-up crumbled after his dismissal.
Published 25 Oct 2020, 09:17 IST