Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) can't be blamed for wondering what went wrong in their match with Mumbai Indians (MI) at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday. The three-run defeat not only lest Kings XI Punjab adrift in terms of qualifying for the play-offs, it also kept Mumbai Indians in the race and that in itself would be a tactical disaster, since in the unlikely event that KXIP and MI do qualify, they'll most likely end up facing each other again, the way things stand right now. Kings XI Punjab had the match more or less in their grasp, but just let it go.
Late-innings attack came too late
At one stage, MI skipper Rohit Sharma had little control on the game, barring trying to change his bowling around and hope. KL Rahul and Aaron Finch had all the answers, barring one - while they looked supremely at comfort, they did not attack soon enough. The KXIP attack on the Mumbai Indians bowling should have started at least two overs before it did, as irrespective of the fact that the two batsmen were settled, they let the asking rate climb rather rapidly against an attack that seemed a little out of sorts. In fact, the Kings XI Punjab should have been aware of how difficult it would be to get Jasprit Bumrah away in the death overs, but did nothing to counter that.
One wonders why Marcus Stoinis or Axar Patel would bat ahead of Yuvraj Singh in any scenario, especially since the veteran left-hander has been out of form and surely need some time in the middle to be effective. To send Yuvraj at No. 7 against a rampaging Bumrah and an aggressive Mitchell McClenaghan was a brain fade of epic proportions.
Ravichandran Ashwin's bowling quota
Similar to the Yuvraj disaster was the fact that KXIP skipper Ravichandran Ashwin ended up bowling one over less from a full quota of four. In no scenario can one imagine why Ashwin would not bowl his full quota, possibly restricting the run (which eventually was the difference between a win and a loss) and having part-timers like Stoinis bowling. The Australian was hammered to all parts and that's where the match was lost. In fact, Ashwin, Patel and Mohit Sharma all ended up bowling three overs each, while Stoinis made up the quota, but at the cost of a hefty 43 runs.
If KXIP don't qualify, the mystery of their decisions would as much be responsible as their actions on the field, which were just short of being good enough.