Kings XI Punjab won only 4 of their 14 matches © AFP
Kings XI Punjab won only 4 of their 14 matches © AFP

As the group stage matches of the ninth season of Indian Premier League (IPL) come to an end, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) finish at the bottom of the table, much to the fans’ disappointment. Since their journey to the final in the year 2014, KXIP have failed to put up any significant performance in the following two seasons, despite many chances. Starting from captaincy to an unbalanced team with big names who failed to score, a big part of KXIP’s  IPL 2016 journey was engulfed in a lot of confusion, which resulted in a forgettable performance. READ: Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2016, Review: Marks out of 10

KXIP started off with a new captain, David Miller, this year. If the decision of not retaining George Bailey had come as a shock to many, this was a bigger one. Miller hardly had any prior experience of leading a team in such a high-intensity tournament and as speculated by many, Miller failed to live up to the high hopes of the KXIP selectors. What more hampered them was that the pressure of this suddenly imposed captaincy resulted in an under-performance of the potential middle-order batsman.

Talking about batting, KXIP did not have a very attractive line up. The top-order was entirely built of Indian players who are currently active mostly in domestic circuit. The efforts of the openers, Manan Vohra and Murali Vijay must be praised as despite not having any big names up there unlike other teams, they did justice to the duty they were assigned to and went on providing steady starts consistently. However, after Hashim Amla’s arrival, Vohra had to make place for him and go out of the playing eleven. One blow that KXIP faced was the injury of Shaun Marsh due to which he pulled out of the tournament later on.

The middle-order looked to be the mos attractive part of the KXIP batting and let the fans down equally. The two names, David Miller and Glenn Maxwell, who remind of terrific slog-hitting, remained off-colour entirely. Even after a good start provided by the top, the middle-order failed to carry forward that momentum which ultimately resulted in below the par totals and led to defeats consequentially. Farhaan Behardien, who later replaced an injured Maxwell, also failed to leave his mark with his performance.

If something looked good, it was their bowling. But again, the department lacked consistency like all the others. Sandeep Sharma is one name who is among those rare players who have been consistent for a side over seasons. Mohit Sharma looked good towards the start but then went on to become expensive. Akshar Patel, who bagged the only hat-trick of this season of IPL so far, also could not provide a performance as impactful as that after.

Talking about captaincy, the results have been almost the same before and after Vijay taking it over from Miller. A notable change was in the attitude of the players and as their intent to win the matches looked more prominent under Vijay. Looking at the entire scenario, it can be said that apart from Hashim Amla and a few scattered performances, KXIP were never in contention to bag a place in top four as they never managed to put up which is the numero uno criteria in cricket- a team game.

(Paulami Chakraborty, a singer, dancer, artist, and photographer, loves the madness of cricket and writes about the game. She can be followed on Twitter at @Polotwitts)