Hardly any time for Pun­jab to re­cover af­ter hor­ror show

Sport360 - - Cricket Ipl 2018 - By Ashish Peter @Sport360 ed­i­to­rial@sport360.com

The 10-wicket thrash­ing handed out to Kings XI Pun­jab by Royal Chal­lengers Ban­ga­lore on Tues­day has come as a ham­mer-blow for Ravichan­dran Ash­win’s men.

A third con­sec­u­tive de­feat for fran­chise has caused a lot of dam­age. At one point, it looked like the Kings XI would sail into the play­offs af­ter their strong first-half but Tues­day’s de­feat has thrown the side into a five-way race for the last two play-off spots in the IPL.

Pun­jab’s net-run rate took the big­ger hit, which has seen the side slide down to fifth po­si­tion in the IPL. This means the side need to win both their re­main­ing matches.

That de­feat will be mu­sic to the ears of their op­po­nents on Wed­nes­day at the Wankhede sta­dium in Mum­bai. De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Mum­bai In­di­ans’ resur­gence was brought to a halt by the Ra­jasthan Roy­als but a good run rate keeps them well in the hunt.

Kings XI bat­ting woes

All through­out the IPL, the Pun­jab fran­chise has been rid­ing on the wave of KL Rahul’s ex­cel­lent form with the bat. The opener’s show­ing along with some handy con­tri­bu­tions from Chris Gayle have

masked the non-show from the rest of the bats­men in the line-up in­clud­ing Karun Nair, Aaron Finch and Mayank Agar­wal.

This soft un­der­belly was ex­posed by Royal Chal­lengers Ban­ga­lore when Rahul and Gayle fell early on Sun­day as the side was bun­dled out for just 88. This chink in the ar­mour will be def­i­nitely be tar­geted by their op­po­nents on Wed­nes­day.

Pres­sure on Ro­hit

Ro­hit Sharma has shown both the good and the bad, mostly the lat­ter, in this year’s IPL. The Mum­bai skip­per has been dis­missed for a golden duck three times this sea­son and bar two knocks of 94 and 56 against Royal Chal­lengers and Kings XI re­spec­tively, the In­dia ODI vice-cap­tain has flat­tered to de­ceive. The lat­est of his ducks came in the side’s de­feat to Ra­jasthan Roy­als and see­ing his per­for­mances in the last few matches, the skip­per is def­i­nitely due a big one on Wed­nes­day.

All eyes on him: Pun­jab’s KL Rahul.

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