Kings XI Punjab are still languishing at the bottom of the IPL points table and It seems near impossible for them to make a comeback into this tournament. They will need to win every match from here on in, and that too convincingly, in order to have a remote chance of qualifying. After six losses from seven games the pressure is on the skipper Kumar Sangakkara.
Can Sangakkara change the fortunes of his side in the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) today? Will Sangakkara deliver the goods on Good Friday?
Leaving captaincy and the woes of his team aside, this year’s IPL has been disappointing on a personal level for Sangakkara. He has only managed to score 91 runs from five innings. He is a much better player than what those stats seem to suggest.
Here is a round up of what the Indian media has to say on today’s match up between KEP and RCB:
Kings XI Punjab had removed Yuvraj Singh, their iconic skipper of the first two seasons, in the hope that the team would finally lay their hands on the IPL trophy in their third attempt.
Whatever the franchisees may have to say, there is no denying that the move has backfired, and it would require a Herculean effort from hereon to avoid the wooden spoon.
About his personal form, Sangakara said: ‘There is some disappointment but I am making sure that I have to make runs. There are no excuses, when we go out in the middle we are totally accountable. To me, my approach is to work hard and to give my 100 per cent.’
If Yuvraj has been guilty of non-performance, Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene have not fared better either. While Jayawardene tallies nearly the same total as Yuvraj, Sangakkara has yet to play a knock of consequence.
Let’s face it. The Kings XI Punjab have no meaningful role left to play in this edition of the Indian Premier League. They have nothing else but pride to play for.
But given the depths of despair and despondency the team has sunk to, it’s going to take a huge effort and some tough decisions to salvage even some pride. The team management has so far steadfastly resisted from making any major changes to the playing XI, hoping the big guns would start firing. But with the tournament crossing the halfway mark, they just can’t go on living on hope eternally. It’s time they pick up players purely on form, not reputation, and sooner they do it, the better it would be for them.
Even though Punjab mathematically still have a chance to qualify for the semis, the rest of season for them would be more about how much damage control. Leave alone the thought of a semi-final berth, as the main aim for Punjab should be to get a few wins under their belt and end the season on a high. Punjab have been nothing short of woeful this season. Their big ticket batsmen – Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Yuvraj Singh have been more like a liability to the team. Yuvraj’s body language has been that of a defeated man, the spark in his batting all but doused by the pre-season snub from captaincy.
Sangakkara’s “all-is-well” line on Thursday did not have many takers, both inside and outside the Punjab dressing room. The team management is yet to find a settled combination. Shaun Marsh has emerged as the only bright spot after Ravi Bopara displayed early form. However, the bowling has been a big letdown.
If Punjab has plenty of problems, Bangalore is facing the problem of plenty. Notwithstanding Wednesday’s loss to Chennai Super Kings, Bangalore looks highly resourceful. The batting looks solid and runs deep. The bowlers have, more often than not, come good and fetched four wins from seven games.