IPL 2018: Kings XI Punjab coach Brad Hodge says none other than 4-5 have fired

Kings XI Punjab will take on Chennai Super Kings in the final league game of IPL 2018 in Pune on Sunday night.

cricket Updated: May 19, 2018 21:20 IST
Devarchit Varma
Devarchit Varma
Hindustan Times, Pune
IPL 2018,Kings XI Punjab,Brad Hodge
Kings XI Punjab must win against Chennai Super Kings to have any hopes of qualifying for the IPL 2018 playoffs.(AFP)

For a team with the leading run-getter and wicket-taker in its ranks -- KL Rahul (652 runs) and Andrew Tye (24 wickets) – it has been a tough few days for Kings XI Punjab.

To make it to the IPL 2018 playoffs, KXIP not only need a big win against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Sunday, but also need favours from others.

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With Royal Challengers Bangalore (12 points) eliminated after losing to Rajasthan Royals on Saturday, KXIP need Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians (both 12 points) to lose for them to have their net run rate improving.

For head coach Brad Hodge, the problem is the misfiring middle-order.

“We are a new team with a new captain and we have learnt a lot from success and failure. Realistically, our middle-order batting hasn’t fired and we are too reliant on a couple of bowlers who have kept us in the game. We haven’t had a consistency across the whole IPL, where when our match-winners haven’t fired, no one has been able to pick up the pieces,” Hodge said at a media interaction on Saturday.

Several KXIP players haven’t delivered this season. “We’ve tried to get to the bottom of these reasons. There are many. It might be family issues, people missing home, other aspects of life they are worried about, it could be anything that distracts the cricketer. We have explored them, tried to get to the bottom… we have tried to mix it up, tried to find the right combination to get the best out of people the best we can,” Hodge expressed.

Hodge said barring four or five players, others haven’t clicked. KL Rahul has been outstanding while Chris Gayle too has delivered with the bat. But Karun Nair and Mayank Agarwal have not been consistent. The hand injury to Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman has not helped KXIP either.

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“We have changed up a little bit in search for those answers and we are still probably searching for those answers, because no one apart from those 4-5 cricketers has fired. That essentially puts us in the position that we are in.”

Despite starting brightly, KXIP’s hopes hinge on other results.

“It is difficult. What we will be doing is patiently wait and watch over the next 24 hours to see the results of other games. We have unfortunately left ourselves in this position. But we will go about our business in the same fashion, train hard, work hard, that’s what we try to do all along and hope we get a chance tomorrow to make an impact,” he said.

The KXIP coach said Mujeeb ur Rahman is expected to be fit for Sunday’s match against CSK. “We will test him out today, and hopefully, he will be available for selection tomorrow.”

First Published: May 19, 2018 21:02 IST