Big names don't matter if you can't deliver when it is needed. Royal Challengers Bangalore is probably the best example this season. Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh have done little justice to their reputation in terms of runs scored in Indian Premier League this year. Kings XI Punjab, on the contrary, have proved how names don't matter, what works best is team-work.
Of the six top totals in the IPL this year, Kings XI Punjab have scored five of them. Punjab's winning total of 198 for eight on Friday night at Chinnaswamy Stadium was the highest by any team against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL 2014. The total was a combined effort of KXIP's top batsmen: Virender Sehwag, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller and of course, Mandeep Singh and Mitchell Johnson.
It's the team's ability to back each other up has made the biggest difference. King's XI have looked like a well-knit outfit where almost every player - whether batting, bowling or fielding - have done his bit, gave his 100 per cent. Friday's match against RCB was a great example. Kohli's team has been a massive disappointment.
Sehwag (24-ball 30) gave Punjab a good start, Maxwell started on a whirlwind fashion but failed to last after a 11-ball 25 and then it was Miller (29-ball 66) who took charge of the innings. The fact that Maxwell has been out in the Nineties thrice means he has put the team before himself. This has been Kings XI's biggest defining factor. The Aussie spirit - team before self -- is eloquently clear.
Bailey's cool demeanour has been a great asset. It is for no reason that he leads Australia in the shortest format of the game. To keep a team full of explosive players united is no easy job. Bailey has done just that. It's just not the ease with which he finds the gaps in the field but the trust that he reposes on his players. Bailey has been a perfect replacement for Adam Gilchrist, the quintessential team man.
Of course, Kings XI have the men who can play the perfect foil. Wriddhiman Saha is one of them. To rotate the strike and let the man in form dominate is the key to success in any format. Saha (run-a-ball 17 with one four) did that well while Johnson freed his arms to strike some lusty blows and crucial runs (12-ball 16).
Sehwag (30) has taken runs tally to 181 at an average of 22.62 in eight innings. Only Maxwell (460) and Miller (284) have more runs for Punjab in the IPL 2014. Sehwag and Mandeep put on 60 for the first wicket -- the highest opening partnership for Punjab this season. It was the perfect launching pad for Maxwell and Miller.
Miller's 284 runs has come at a superb average of 47.33. This includes three fifties in eight innings this season. The South African has completed 3000 runs in Twenty20 at an average of 38.46 in 125 matches.
(With inputs from Rajesh Kumar)