Punjab Kings have been a mid-table club in the Indian Premier League mostly barring a final appearance in the 2014 final where they lost to Kolkata Knight Riders. Punjab have since been chopping and changing and have also gone for a complete overhaul. But fortunes have not favoured them despite current skipper KL Rahul leading from the front with the bat.
This year as well, Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have been among the runs but Punjab are yet to make it count as a team with their big-money auction signings Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith failing to make an impact.
Punjab have played eight games so far, winning three and losing five with a net run-rate of -0.368. They’re currently sixth in the table tied with Rajasthan Royals on points but ahead of Kolkata Knight Riders (7th) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (8th).
Punjab Kings Squad: KL Rahul (C), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Prabhsimran Singh, Mohammed Shami, Chris Jordan, Darshan Nalkande, Ravi Bishnoi, Murugan Ashwin, Arshdeep Singh, Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel, Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson, Shahrukh Khan, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar
Here is a SWOT analysis of the PK team based on their performances in this year’s IPL so far.
OPENING STAND: Rahul and Mayank have been in great form for Punjab and got them off to fine starts on many occasions. Rahul has so far scored 331 runs from 7 games while Mayank has scored 260 from 7 games.
BOWLERS MISFIRING: The Punjab Kings bowlers despite having an abundance of talent, haven’t quite fired for them. Mohammed Shami is their leading wicket-taker with 8 wickets so far in the league. With Richardson and Meredith not firing for the Punjab side, PK have struggled to get wickets and win matches.
MIDDLE-MUDDLE: Punjab have had two of their opening batsmen in fine form but their middle-order has struggled. Following Rahul and Mayank, none of Nicholas Pooran, Deepak Hooda and Shahrukh Khan have been able to produce runs on a consistent basis.
KL RAHUL: KL Rahul’s strong show as an opener might keep in the reckoning for the opener’s slow in the World T20 scheduled to happen later this year. While Shikhar Dhawan has been in great form for Delhi, Rahul’s good run with the bat and a strong finish can ensure he remains at the top with Rohit Sharma and not in the middle-order.
PLAYERS BACKING OUT: Punjab could miss up to four players because of the IPL getting postponed. While the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA) are yet to announce if their players will be allowed to play or not, the general belief is that they won’t be. If at all that is the case, PK could miss Malan, Jordan, Richardson, Meredith and Henriques.
LACK OF DEPTH: If the Australian and English players back out, Punjab will have a real dearth of options to fill the gaps of the quality that is left behind by the players. Their Indian contingent are not at the level of the foreign players and filling the void would be very difficult from within the squad.
IPL 2021 is likely to be played from September 19 to October 15 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 31 matches will be played in total across 27 days.