Kings XI Punjab have great opening pair in KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, one dubbed as the new Bairstow-Warner for IPL 2020. They have great new-ball pair as well in Sheldon Cottrell and Mohammed Shami with their powerplays number being among the best this season. In fact, according to CricViz, they have the best bowling impact among all eight teams until the 15th over. Yet, Kings XI Punjab have won just one game in four matches this season. One of the primary reason behind their struggle being the death overs.
In their match against Delhi Capitals, the one decided over a Super Over, Chris Jordan had conceded 30 runs in the last over. Against Rajasthan Royals, Cottrell gifted 30 runs to Rahul Tewatia that helped him pull off an inspirational heist for the ages. And on Thursday, Jimmy Neesham leaked 22 and 18 off the 16th and 18th over while Krishnappa Gowtham was clobbered for 25 runs in the final over, all that helped Mumbai Indians power 89 runs for the loss of one wicket in the death overs.
Although still just four matches into IPL 2020, but KXIP's death over numbers have been the worst this season with the team conceding over 15 runs per over during that phase.
What could be the alternative?
Captain KL Rahul, after the loss to Mumbai Indians on Thursday admitted, "Another bowling option would be nice - an all-rounder option who can bat and bowl well. Will be sitting with the coaches to decide if we want to play an extra bowler."
Well, KXIP have no other all-round option left in their squad barring Neesham and Gowtham. Probably bringing back Chris Jordan would be the only possible option for KXIP. He is their only death-over specialist, despite going for 30 runs against Marcus Stoinis in the Delhi Capitals game. He is one of the most experienced bowlers during that phase, bowling the mist number of deliveries in the death overs since 2019. However, according to CricViz, Jordan has an average economy rate of 9.33 since 2016 World T20, which is above the average world economy rate of 9.11. And since 2019, his numbers have been 9.81, which is once again well above the world average of 8.99.
Hardus Viljoen is another option as the disposal of KXIP. He has been a T20 expert off late and has a few variatons as his repertoire.