Unlike Kings XI Punjab‘s top-order, their middle-order has cut a sorry figure so far in the tournament.
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As a result, the team is yet to wear a dominating look despite having a formidable top-order and a bowling lineup.
KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, and Karun Nair have scored consistently, but the form of the middle-order is enough to give the team sleepless nights. The likes of Aaron Finch, Mayank Agarwal, Yuvraj Singh and Manoj Tiwary have failed to deliver.
Agarwal, who scored over 1,000 runs in last season of Ranji Trophy, has scored only 105 runs in seven games while Yuvraj scored 50 runs in six games before getting dropped.
On the other hand, Yuvraj’s replacement Manoj Tiwary also failed to impress, scoring only one in the solitary game he has played so far.
Finch’s form is equally poor. The Australian, who missed the start of the tournament due to his wedding, began his campaign with two consecutive ducks.
It got followed by scores of 14, 2 and 8. Not surprisingly, the team dropped the Australian from the playing eleven for their last game against Mumbai Indians. Finch, however, is hopeful of turning things around in the second half of the season.
“Obviously, it’s been disappointing start for me as I haven’t really contributed but the real positive for us as a team has been that we have won matches and are in a good position currently. A couple of us haven’t been scoring heavily but we do have a chance to make an impact at the backend of the tournament and help the KXIP win the title. We have been practising hard and been having extra sessions to ensure we are up for the battle in front of us. T20 is a hard game and we still have got a chance to contribute and have a great second half of the tournament,” he told TOI.
Finch opens the innings in international cricket. Even in the past seasons of the IPL, he was used at the top of the order.
When asked whether the change in batting position has affected his batting, he answered negatively.
“No, I don’t think so. Obviously, I have batted most of my career on top of the order for Australia and for the franchises. I think batting a season and a half for Gujarat Lions in the middle order has been a great learning experience. The more I do, the better I will get and hope to get better at the back end of the tournament,” he said.
Finch further spoke on Ravichandran Ashwin’s captaincy. The India spinner is leading a side for the first time in his career and has done reasonably well. The team is currently fourth on the table with five wins in eight games.
“I think he has led the team from the front. He doesn’t have a lot of captaincy experience in the past but the way he has gone about his business has been brilliant. Ashwin is cool and calm on the field. I suppose that comes with playing under MS Dhoni for such a long time. MS is a cool guy on the field and hardly shows his emotions on the field. I think the way Ashwin has captained so far has been outstanding. He leads by example both on the field and during training,” he said.