The Kings XI Punjab, led by KL Rahul, has staged a fightback, beating the top three teams in their last three games. While KXIP has done well so far, they have been on the wrong side of many close games.
A talented side, KXIP didn’t perform so poorly but threw away games that they could have won on many occasions.
Let us now look at the close games for KXIP this season.
IPL 2020, Game 2, Delhi Capitals vs. Kings XI Punjab
After a good bowling performance to restrict the Capitals to 157, the Kings XI went into bat for the second innings.
With many promises and expectations in the Punjab lineup, the chase could have been a straightforward one.
While Mayank Agarwal lived up to the expectations with his 89, the others kept getting dismissed at regular intervals. The middle-order contributed only 14 runs from position three to seven.
Despite the lack of support, Agarwal played well to get his side close to the target.
Marcus Stoinis, whose 50 helped Delhi get to a decent score, was trusted with the final over.
Agarwal hit a six and four with 13 needed off the final over and left the game at one-off three.
He was dismissed off the penultimate ball while Jordan was booted off the final ball, taking the game into a super over.
Rabada bowled an exceptional super over, taking the wickets of both Pooran and Rahul, leaving an easy chase of three for the Capitals.
It was a close game with the Kings XI choking when they needed one-off three balls.
The game, however, raised a lot of expectations on both sides.
The Capitals have gone on to live up to those expectations, having reached the top of the table.
On the other hand, Punjab struggled in the start with more close games and are now staging a fightback.
IPL 2020, Game 9, KXIP vs. Rajasthan Royals
Sharjah has been a six-hitting ground in the initial stages of the IPL.
KXIP batting first got off to a great start and reached a score of 223 runs.
Mayank Agarwal starred with a century that helped Punjab get to a score that may have been too big even for Sharjah.
Rajasthan started well in the second innings with Smith and Samson scoring 50s at quick rates.
With the game hanging in the balance, Rahul Tewatia was sent in to provide some quick runs.
The move backfired on the Royals as Tewatia could not get going.
He was eight of 20 deliveries. His innings sucked the momentum out of the innings and also put lots of pressure on Sanju Samson, who was going well.
With 51 needed off the last three overs, Rahul Tewatia turned both the innings and his IPL around.
He hit five sixes off Sheldon Cottrell and got the momentum back for his side.
His push was enough for them to complete an impressive victory.
The innings also helped him gain confidence for the rest of the season.
IPL 2020, Game 24, KXIP vs. Kolkata Knight Riders
Coming into the game with just one win in the tournament, KXIP were very low on confidence.
They seemed to have forgotten how to win games, and the game against KXIP was proof.
They bowled well to restrict Knight Riders to 164.
A good opening partnership between Rahul and Agarwal put KXIP in the driver’s seat.
Although Agarwal was dismissed, the game was in Punjab’s hand, with 22 needed off 18.
They went onto choke, epically losing Rahul while leaving them with fourteen to get off the last over.
Maxwell hit a four and six and missed out on a win by a few inches.
Punjab lost by two runs, but it was a game they should have closed out much earlier.
IPL 2020, Game 31, KXIP vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore
Chasing again, Punjab had to make 172 runs to get their second win of the season.
Chris Gayle was in for his first game of the season. Although he didn’t open, Chris Gayle provided a lot of firepower in the middle order.
Agarwal had given an excellent start to the Kings XI.
He was dismissed for 45, which bought Chris Gayle to the middle.
In his first outing after a long gap, Chris Gayle took his time to get going.
As Gayle started slow, Rahul changed his approach and went for big shots as he couldn’t look for quick singles anymore.
Doing so allowed Gayle to get set and go very hard at the bowlers.
The two had a good partnership and left two runs to get off the final over.
Two runs off the final over should have been an easy task.
With Gayle not the fastest between the wickets, and Chahal bowling very well, Punjab struggled in the final over, and Gayle was run-out with one needed off the last ball.
Again, a game that shouldn’t have been so close-ended being another close game for Punjab. They were fortunate to have Pooran come in and hit a six to finish the game.
It was another close game, but Punjab was fortunate to come upon the winning side.
IPL 2020, Game 36, KXIP vs. Mumbai Indians.
Possibly the closest game in IPL history, the game had kept shifting in momentum.
Mumbai batting first, lost early wickets, and then staged a remarkable fightback.
They finished their innings well and put up a score of 176.
A score of 176 was highly unlikely after losing three wickets in the powerplay.
In return, the Kings XI lost Agarwal early but regained momentum through a partnership between Rahul and Gayle.
After Gayle’s dismissal, Pooran played a nice cameo but was dismissed quickly.
Rahul held the innings together well despite wickets falling around him, and he looked set to carry the side home.
With Rahul in control of the chase, a superb yorker from Bumrah all but ended the game.
With Rahul gone and hopes dented, Jordan and Hooda fought back well and staged another comeback to put the game in their control.
They needed nine off the final over bowled by Boult.
The job was made easier when an edge went to the boundary.
Boult, however, held his nerve well and managed to push the game into a super over.
It was the second super over for KXIP, and they were put into bat again.
Batting first, they managed only five runs, losing two batsmen.
The game shifted back to Mumbai again.
Shami bowled the super over and gave a surprise to everyone.
He nailed six Yorkers and ensured the game goes into another super over.
It is the first time a game has seen two super overs.
The second super over had Mumbai batting first.
They sent explosive batsmen Pollard and Pandya while Chris Jordan bowled.
It was better over for the batsmen with eleven scored. There could have been another six had it not been for a spectacular stop by Mayank Agarwal.
Kings XI, in response, sent Gayle and Agarwal for the over. Gayle hit a six off the first ball while Agarwal hit two boundaries to seal the game for the Kings XI.