IPL 2017: Virender Sehwag Comes Out All Guns Blazing Against KXIP Captain Glenn Maxwell
After defeating the likes of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Mumbai Indians (MI) in their last two games, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) was expected to put up yet another stellar show when they locked horns with the Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) on Sunday.
The stakes were at an all-time high with the winner between Pune and Punjab going straight into the play-offs. But, what eventually unfolded at the MCA stadium didn’t just leave Preity Zinta red-faced, it also evoked a strong response from Punjab mentor and head of cricketing operations Virender Sehwag.
Asked to bat first, Punjab couldn’t have got off to a worse start than losing Martin Guptill on the very first delivery of their innings. If that wasn’t enough, the visitors lost their second wicket after Shardul Thakur dismissed Shaun Marsh in the fourth over.
Soon, Punjab found themselves reeling at 32/5 in the powerplay overs. Wriddhiman Saha and Axar Patel tried to hold fort for their team but Dan Christian sent the former back in the hut to spark a shambolic batting collapse for Punjab.
A team that had posted a mammoth 230-run total in their last match, was eventually bowled out for a mere 73 runs – their lowest total in IPL history. On the forgetful day, where the likes of Guptill (0), Marsh (10), Eoin Morgan (4) and Glenn Maxwell (0) failed miserably, Axar emerged as the top-scorer with his 22-run knock.
“I’m very disappointed. I can say that none of the foreign players took responsibility and at least played 12 to 15 overs. Their role was at least one of the top four should bat for 12 to 15 overs, but none of the batsmen took the responsibility.”
— Cricket Geek (@CricGeeks) May 14, 2017
“I think they were complaining that the wicket was a bit slow but when you play international cricket so much, you should get used to playing on difficult or good wickets. There are very rare occasions when you get a good wicket to bat on but whatever wicket you get, you have to play at least 20 overs for your side. But Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Guptill and Morgan [were all disappointing],” a disappointed Sehwag said during the post-match press conference.
“Even Marsh, his role was to play till 10-12 overs, but the way he got out was disappointing and then Maxwell and Morgan, these are the experienced players… I mean the players who got out had been informing the next batsman that it’s a slow wicket and even then if you throw away wickets, it means that you’re not up for the game,” Sehwag continued.
While the overall batting display had shocked Sehwag, it was Maxwell’s inconsistency that disappointed him the most. “We always knew that when Maxwell fires, then he can win the match on his own. But he didn’t fire in most games. That is a big disappointment, especially since he is experienced, having played for Australia’s Test and ODI teams. He didn’t take the responsibility as a captain and didn’t perform for Kings XI Punjab,” he said.
The former Indian cricketer also pointed out that the absence of Hashim Amla at the top was another contributing factor to Punjab’s dismal show. “We missed Hashim Amla, for sure. The kind of consistency he showed, none of the other players could do that, an individual couldn’t take responsibility. Saha played one (good) innings, Manan Vohra played one innings but apart from that none of the others played responsibly.”
Punjab’s shambolic nine-wicket loss to Pune saw their hopes of making the play-offs go down the drain. While Pune set up a meeting with Mumbai in Qualifier 1, Punjab finished their IPL campaign with a fifth-place finish and 14 points this year.