Dubai: Punjab Kings is one team which always keeps its fans on the edge. In fact, Punjab Kings and KL Rahul are like magnets which keep all the fans glued to their seats as most of their games are close and tight.
Coming in to this year’s IPL, Punjab Kings had won their first game against Rajasthan Royals by won runs in spite of scoring 221 runs in Mumbai. Against the same team last year, Punjab Kings had put a similar total in Sharjah and were on course for an easy win till Rahul Tewatia smashed five sixes of Sheldon Cottrell and won the game for Rajasthan Royals.
In the UAE leg too, Punjab Kings had a close game. Chasing 185 to win, Punjab Kings were cruising on the way to an emphatic win with eight runs required in the last two overs to spare and eight wickets in hand with Aiden Makram and Nicholas Pooran at the crease well set. But Mustafizur Rehman bowled a tight 19th over to concede just four runs and the last over Kartik Tyagi gave just one run and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Over the years, Punjab Kings have had tight games where they are not able to close out games which they have dominated but fumbled in the end.
I had the privilege to meet the CEO of Punjab Kings Satish Menon and asked him how he took such defeats in his stride and he replied in a very calm way that as much as he felt sad on losing tight games he still backed his players to the core. When I asked him if his team has a chance to qualify for the playoffs, he said, “We are a die-hard lot, will not give up till the last ball is bowled, and given the nature of the tournament, it allows for every team a chance to make it till the end. This year the 4th position is still open”.
Punjab Kings has never won an IPL title and had once made it to the finals in 2014 where they were beaten by Kolkata Knight Riders in a close finish. Punjab Kings next game is incidentally against Kolkata Knight Riders and if they beat them, they are still in the race for the playoffs. Time will tell whether Punjab Kings will make it or not but the fact remains that this is one team which keeps its fans on the edge and don’t be surprised if you see the same in their next three games.