Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has picked the aggressive and selfless batting of Mayank Agarwal and his excellent partnership with KL Rahul at the top of the order as the biggest positives for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in IPL 2020.
He made this observation while talking about the gain the Punjab-based franchise made in the recently concluded edition of the IPL in a video shared on his Facebook page.
Aakash Chopra started by praising the Kings XI Punjab's opening pair of Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul, with the duo giving the franchise a flying start more often than not.
"Kings XI Punjab have a brilliant opening pair. The combination of Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul is amazing."
The reputed commentator pointed out that KL Rahul has been the epitome of consistency. The Kings XI Punjab captain has not only won the Orange Cap this year but has scored in excess of 600 runs in each of the last three seasons of the IPL.
"KL Rahul has the Orange Cap sitting on his head and I believe consistency should start with K rather than C, based on his name. He has scored more than 600 runs in three consecutive seasons. The 670-run mark is unbelievable because the other top batsmen played 16 or 17 matches but he played only 14."
Aakash Chopra highlighted that Mayank Agarwal had played the aggressive opener's role to perfection for Kings XI Punjab and did not take a backward step on any instance, thereby allowing KL Rahul to play the long innings.
"Mayank should get full 100 marks. He missed a few matches because of injury but he played in a fearless manner. He is the definition of a selfless player. I did not see him bat in a conservative selfish manner even on one occasion."
The former KKR player named Nicholas Pooran as the other positive in the Kings XI Punjab batting department for the big-hitting left-hander's game-changing abilities.
"Nicholas Pooran was another big plus for them. He hits the ball really hard, hits a lot of sixes and has the match-winning ability."
Aakash Chopra on the positives for Kings XI Punjab in the bowling department
Talking about the bowling front, Aakash Chopra pointed out that Murugan Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi had given a good account of themselves for Kings XI Punjab with the ball.
"The two leg-spinners also did very well, if you talk about Murugan Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi."
The 43-year old observed that Mohammed Shami was outstanding for Kings XI Punjab, both with the new ball and at the death. He especially lauded the Bengal speedster's exploits in the Super Over against the Mumbai Indians.
"Shami's bowling was top-class. He bowled the first Super Over in the match that went to a double Super Over and the second one happened because of him. He was able to save 5 runs. He bowled very well with both the new and the old ball."
Aakash Chopra signed off by naming Arshdeep Singh as the other bowler to have grown in stature for the Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2020.
"Arshdeep progressed ahead, so that is another good story. So there were quite a few good stories."
While KL Rahul finished as the proud recipient of the Orange Cap in IPL 2020, he was allowed the luxury to play the long innings by the explosive starts provided by Mayank Agarwal at the other end. The latter scored his 424 runs at an excellent strike rate of 156.45, thereby allowing his Karnataka teammate to build his innings.
Mohammed Shami was undoubtedly the standout performer for Kings XI Punjab with the ball. The right-arm pacer accounted for 20 wickets, getting prodigious movement with the new ball and nailing the yorkers at the death.
Published 15 Nov 2020, 13:22 IST