Skanda Rajachandra: The Story of the Season
What is it about KXIP that makes everyone love them? a tweet read. This relatively young side got their show on the road with an unfortunate defeat in the super over against Delhi Capitals and a fascinating victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore. The Kings’ start was promising but soon everything went downhill. Almost every game, they were within the reach of a win but silly mistakes and poor execution of plans withheld them from crossing the finish line.
Six defeats later, the Kings had seven teams towering over them on the points table. But when the hope of qualifying for the playoffs looked sombre, the Kings documented a dramatic turnaround with five wins in a row. They beat the top four teams in the league and created hurdles in the road to the playoffs for Sunrisers Hyderabad. Last over/close finishes became a force of habit thereby keeping everyone at the edge of their seat.
KXIP’s dramatic turnaround is very similar to RCB’s 2016 IPL season, in fact the resemblance is uncanny. Here’s how:
‘Started from the bottom now we’re here’ – In 2016, at the halfway mark, RCB had won two of their seven games but by the closing stages of the league, they won six of their seven games and topped the table. While Punjab haven’t topped the league, with five wins on a trot, they are currently placed fourth on the table- and qualifying to the playoffs doesn’t look like a herculean task.
RCB 2.0 – Four players from KXIP (KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Chris Jordan and Mandeep Singh) were part of RCB’s playing 11 in 2016 – so this adds more self belief because they’ve been there and done that.
Leading the way – In 2016, RCB’s captain Virat Kohli and Punjab’s 2020 captain KL Rahul, lead their pack from the front. Virat Kohli bagged the orange cap in 2016 with 973 runs and four centuries. KL, on the other end, is leading the orange cap list with 567 runs and one century to his account. While radiating heap loads of positive energy, their aggression, and prolific batting performances set the tone for the team. Virat was ruthless and inspiring – KL is doing the same.
“There is a similarity but there is a huge possibility that KXIP will run out of steam just like RCB,” said Skanda Rajachandra, whose IPL moment is Kohli’s spectacular 4-century season in 2016. RCB reached the finals that year but failed to clinch their maiden IPL trophy. After a rather bumpy start to their journey this year, KXIP have spotted the light at the end of the tunnel and are moving steadily towards the light. KXIP are on the hunt to qualify and lift the trophy but will they run out of steam or will their fairytale run end on a happy note – it’s going to be interesting to watch.
Nevertheless, if RCB were the story of the season in 2016, KXIP are the story of the season this year.
Reported by Shriya Rajachandra
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