Punjab Kings’ journey in the Indian Premier League 2022 has almost come to an end after their humiliating 14-run defeat against Delhi Capitals. With six wins in 13 games, they are at number seven in the points table. With only mathematical permutations keeping them in contention, simply winning the last game won’t work for the team.
Even if they beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by a big margin, they will have to depend on Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Delhi Capitals to qualify for the playoffs. Their dismal net run rates make things trickier, as both Delhi and Kolkata boast vastly superior net run rates.
In short, only a miracle will break their unwanted streak of getting knocked out for the eighth successive season. It looks like a change in the name hasn’t brought a change in the fortune, as it’s the same old issues that are bogging them down.
Until last season, KL Rahul used to be the face of the franchise. While Rahul was the most prolific run-getter during his stay, his sluggish strike rate often divided opinions. He was released from the side, and the franchise then assembled a squad full of power-hitters. They took a punt on Odean Smith, splashed money on Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone, and found a seasoned opener in Shikhar Dhawan.
It looked like an incredibly strong team on the paper but Punjab messed it up again. They had lost quite a many games they had no business losing, and are now standing on the brink of elimination. Against Delhi Capitals, their much-vaunted batting order crumbled like a deck of cards, failing to chase a below-par target of 160.
Furious with the defeat, fans didn’t mince words while criticising the head coach for the defeat. This is Anil Kumble’s third season at the club, and his strategy, at times, has been baffling. The former Indian spinner is at the receiving end of brickbats for bottling the playoffs, despite having a well-balanced team at his disposal.
(Featured Image Credit: Punjab Kings)