Have rival teams seen through Punjab Kings’ ultra-attacking approach?

Punjab Kings’ ultra-attacking approach proved to be their undoing against Delhi Capitals on Wednesday night, and their batter Jitesh Sharma admitted there was no ‘Plan B’ in place for the side, which has gradually slipped on the points table after starting on a positive note.

Delhi Capital’ bowlers perhaps saw through PBKS’ ‘hit-at-all-cost’ strategy at the Brabourne Stadium to inflict one of the biggest defeats in this edition of the IPL, employing their spin trio of Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav and Lalit Yadav to devastating effect.

Bereft of ideas to tackle spin on a wicket where the ball was sticking and coming on late, PBKS batters tried to be overly aggressive to be all out for 115, with DC overhauling the target in only the 11th over for the loss of just one wicket.

Jitesh Sharma, who emerged the highest scorer for PBKS scoring 32 runs, admitted that the batting had imploded spectacularly.

“We have decided already on only one (batting) approach for this tournament, which is to play an attacking style of cricket. We probably have not been able to apply it based on the situation we are in. Sometimes we are able to apply but at times we are unable to do so. We are trying to gain the momentum and carry it forward,” said Sharma.

On whether Punjab will reassess their batting approach, Sharma said, “We just had a meeting about it. The players sat down and talked about the issue in hand. As you can see that everyone in the line-up is a match winner. We are waiting for one-two people to click in a game. We have decided that we will give ourselves some time to settle on the wickets in the game and play a long innings and gain back the confidence that we have lost because we are all match-winners in the batting line-up.”

In a team packed with batters such as skipper Mayank Agarwal, Shikhar Dhawan, England’s Jonny Bairstow and the likes, a bit of patience and caution in powerplay could have done the trick, and Sharma said that application was missing.

“This was a bad game for us. We need to forget it. We should learn that toss is not in our hand but we have to face the challenge that if we are batting first how we should apply on such wickets because we have done it earlier also. We have scored 190-odd when we batted first earlier. It is just a bad game we need to forget,” said Sharma.

Moreover, PBKS left out all-rounder Odean Smith for a genuine pace option in Nathan Ellis, making their tail-enders start earlier than expected. From 33/0 in 3.3 overs, Punjab’s batters floundered while going for the attack. Sharma tried to rebuild Punjab’s innings by top-scoring with 32 but got out while trying to do an improbable task of sweeping against Axar Patel, which meant Punjab never got their best batters to make the most out of death overs yet again.

Sharma, who plays for Vidarbha in domestic cricket, credited his good nick to playing for his state team as well as to head coach Anil Kumble spotting him in the trials.

“I am very lucky that Anil sir saw me in the trials and they picked me for Punjab Kings. I had played a lot of domestic cricket so I was in really good touch this year. Being in good touch is the thing which I am trying to apply. But I am not up to the mark yet I think because I could have finished this game and could have batted for a little longer. So, playing in domestic cricket is helping me and trying to fulfil the roles, game plan for which I have been picked in the team.”

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