Reaching the final of the 2014 IPL was the highest point in the history of the Kings XI Punjab. However, all has not been as smooth as it is now in the 2015 edition. We wind the clock back to take a look at the long and winding road of the Kings XI Punjab.
The first edition of the Indian Premier League began with a sense of optimism. For the Kings XI Punjab, it has been an eight year journey of contrasting fortunes. From total despair at the foot of the table to near glory, the Kings have experienced it all. The transformation however has not just been with the team. From Preity Zinta all the way through to the management, the change has been evidently manifold.
Kings XI Punjab: The journey so far
It seems strange that eight years have elapsed from the first time the Kings XI Punjab took the picturesque Mohali Stadium in IPL 2008. Back then, the concept of icon player was beginning to take shape. The charismatic Yuvraj Singh was thus instated as the Punjab ‘icon player’.
The first season saw the Kings have a rather profitable time. One can make a case about the star studded lineup, but a semifinal finish was impressive nonetheless. The premier season however will be remembered for the unearthing of Shaun Marsh. The latter’s heroics with the bat saw him finish on top of the tree on the run-scoring list.
Seven year hiatus from the playoff spots
Since the premier season of the IPL, Kings XI Punjab have faced a steady decline. Bringing in the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Jerome Taylor and even a new sponsor in Fly Emirates failed to rejuvenate the depleted Kings. Thus began a fatal slump that the Kings XI would have to live with for seven long years.
The 2012 edition of the IPL proved to be a low point for the Kings as they slumped to their worst ever finish in an IPL season. Having won just 8 of their 16 matches, they finished sixth on the table. As a result, all players were released as the message was loud and clear- “It is time for change”.
IPL 2013: The rise of David Miller
A new year, new squad and even a new coach saw the Kings XI Punjab enter into the IPL 2013 full of hope and promise. However, despite the new personnel failing to make the playoffs spot, the talent and team chemistry was there for all to see. While Sanjay Bangar enhanced his reputation as coach, South African David Miller burst onto the scene.
IPL 2014: So near yet so far
The 2014 edition of the IPL was perhaps the best for Kings XI Punjab. Among the shopping list, Virender Sehwag, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson and George Bailey were the prominent names ticked off. With the likes of Wriddhiman Saha, Anureet Singh and Sandeep Sharma too stepping up to the plate, the Kings XI Punjab looked a well balanced outfit.
As they had done in previous seasons, Axar Patel was the new talent unearthed by the Kings. Their performances in the first leg at the UAE and back home clearly brought smiles back on the faces of Preity Zinta and Ness Wadia. Glenn Maxwell’s power hitting was the most unexpected performance. His strike rate of over 200 in the innings of 90 and 95 were definitely an added bonus to the rejuvenated Kings.
Having finished on top during the group stags, George Bailey’s men fell short in the final, courtesy a wonderful Manish Pandey knock.
Kings XI Punjab: Looking ahead
Looking ahead, George Bailey and co can take solace in the fact that they are one of the youngest sides in IPL. While the youngsters Anureet Singh and Sandeep Sharma have delivered, the old horses- Mitchell Johnson and Virender Sehwag too have come good. Thus, with a well balanced outfit, there is no reason why the Kings XI Punjab will not lift the coveted IPL trophy in the years to come.