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IPL Match 25: Loss against Sunrisers exposed Punjab’s overdependence on Gayle, Rahul

While having both the openers of a team in good form is a great situation to be in, and a rare one at that, it can sometimes backfire as well. Since the top two are consistent, the other batsmen in the team might not get enough chance to get a proper hit. And, when they finally things could end up seeming out of place.

This is exactly what happened to Kings XI Punjab against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Despite having to chase only 133 to win, the Kings faltered against a probing Sunrisers attack. And, the chasing side’s overdependence on their openers Chris Gayle and Lokesh Rahul came to the fore in this match. Having done so well for most part of the tournament, they were bound to fail sometime. To their credit, they still laid a solid foundation, adding a significant 50 plus stand. The others failed to capitalise on the same.

All Punjab needed was one decent innings from the likes of Mayank Agarwal, Aaron Finch, Karun Nair or Manoj Tiwary. But that just didn’t come, and Punjab’s batting stood exposed. While Punjab have been excellent in some matches thus far, their inability to get much far without Gayle and Rahul is rather startling, and could hamper them in future games as well if things don’t change.

Punjab’s poor batting effort undid all the great work done by their bowlers earlier in the day. Ankit Rajpoot used his variations and the pitch well to finish with magical figures of 5 for 14. Mujeeb Ur Rahman also continued to impress with 1 for 17 in his 4 overs. It’s the batsmen who need to raise their game now.

While Punjab self-destructed credit must be given to Sunrisers’ bowling outfit, who pulled off another heist. Rashid Khan, who was torn apart by Gayle last time, had sweet revenge as h finished with 3 for 19, including the big wicket of Lokesh Rahul. In what was a great all-round bowling effort, Sandeep Sharma, Basil Thampi and Shakib Al Hasan all chipped in with two scalps each to lead Sunrisers to victory.

Despite the win though, Sunrisers’ overreliance on Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson also came to the fore, not for the first time. Sunrisers desperately need the middle and lower order to fire, for they cannot expect the bowlers to bail them out always. While Punjab and Hyderabad find themselves in a similar situation, Sunrisers are lucky to have one of the most versatile bowling attacks in IPL 2018.

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