KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran and Glenn Maxwell, Kings XI Punjab are perhaps the only team with each of the Top 5 capable of going big right from the word go. This aggressive nature of the top order has worked well for them but has failed to produce conducive results. The team has been famous for messing up finishes but have revived themselves greatly in the last three encounters. The change in tide has brought a lot of confidence to the side and both the batsmen as well as the bowlers have shown tremendous intent on field.
The win against Delhi Capitals is sure to boost the confidence even further. Interestingly though, throughout the run-chase there seemed to exist a sense of hurry, desperation and anxiety in the middle. The Punjab batters however, played with a lot of intent but even with the required run-rate under control, it was uncertain if they would cross the line. Maybe it was because of the way that they lost wickets, especially the run-out, maybe the previous results played their part or maybe it was the extra aggression that tagged the feeling along but Punjab yet again, held their nerve. They played out the difficult overs of spin and targeted the raw pace of Deshpande. The six-wicket win due process is their third on trott. Incidentally all three have come against the top-of-the-table teams.
Delhi Capitals and Kings XI Punjab innings can also be looked at as two contrasting happenings. While Delhi kept losing wickets at intervals and tried to build the innings, Punjab batters came in with packets of bursting treats. The number of cameos right from Gayle to Neesham is a fine proof of how Punjab went about with the proceedings. The pitches recently have got slower with time and maybe hence, the hurry from Punjab was well justified eventually. They were also helped by some good fortune, especially with the inside edges. Delhi on the other hand were highly dependent on Shikhar Dhawan and his miraculous hundred. He anchored one end like a solid rock and made sure to keep the scoreboard ticking. Even with the wickets tumbling and through the quiet overs, Dhawan was well in control of his game and took thoughtful risks. Though some support from other batters would have boosted the score even more, the left-hander proved his worth well in the team.
The change in fortune for Punjab can be compared to the return of Maxwell at the top. Despite being an off-show with the bat even now, the Australian has been impressive with the ball at the top. He, just like Washington Sundar for RCB, has sprung in few disciplined overs in the powerplay helping the team manage resources well. It has also allowed Punjab to play an extra batsman in Neesham over Chris Jordan. Overall, Punjab as a team have begun to shape well and the recent wins have given them momentum. Irrespective of whether they make it through the play-offs or not, Punjab is surely the team to watch out for in days to come.