Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) produced one of the worst batting performances of IPL 2018, bundled out for a paltry 88 in 15.1 overs by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on Monday night. RCB coasted to a 10-wicket win, leaving KXIP in serious danger of missing out on a play-off spot. Barring Lokesh Rahul, Chris Gayle and Aaron Finch, no other KXIP player managed to even get into double figures. While Rahul and Gayle have been excellent at the top order for Punjab, the middle-order has never really looked settled this season. The Punjab team management have chopped and changed the middle-order, Yuvraj Singh being a testament of that. Another player who has been a surprise omission from the KXIP playing XI is David Miller. The South African batting star has played just two matches in IPL 2018 and that has left many scratching their heads, including Dale Steyn.
The South African fast bowler took to Twitter and questioned Punjab's selection policy and the reasoning behind omitting Miller from the playing XI in IPL 2018.
So why isn't Miller getting a game? #justaskingforafriend— Dale Steyn (@DaleSteyn62) May 14, 2018
I mean, Leg spinner to a left hander. Middle overs, Miller is taking that on.— Dale Steyn (@DaleSteyn62) May 14, 2018
But I guess at this level everyone should be able to play leggies...
Miller has a total of 50 runs in two matches with an unbeaten knock to his name, meaning he averages 50 in IPL 2018.
Yuvraj has had a poor tournament and has rightly been benched by KXIP. The left-hander has managed to score just 64 runs in seven matches at a woeful average of 12.80.
However, Finch seems to have been given a long rope despite dismal outings with the bat. The Australian batsman has played eight games and has a total of 84 runs at an average of 14. Despite failing to make meaningful contributions, Finch continues to be preferred to Miller.
Another Punjab middle-order batsman who is having a tournament to forget is Mayank Agarwal. The right-hander has played 11 matches in IPL 2018 and has scored just 120 runs at an average of 12 with not even a single half-century to his name.
KXIP have tried to experiment multiple times by sending Axar Patel up the order but the Indian all-rounder has been another massive failure for his team in the middle overs.
Axar has played seven matches and scored just 56 runs at an average of 11.20.
Punjab's poor middle-order form is finally starting to catch up. From being in a strong position to make the playoffs at the halfway mark, Punjab have now fallen to fifth in the IPL points table. They have won just one out of their last five matches and could fall further down if they lose to Mumbai Indians on Wednesday night.