Renowned expert Harsha Bhogle believes Kings XI Punjab are wasting Jimmy Neesham by batting him at No.7 and reckons that they would be better off utilizing that slot with a specialist bowler like Chris Jordan. Bhogle also noted that Punjab have one of the scariest Top sevens in the competition.
After a nightmare start to the tournament, Kings XI Punjab’s Chris Jordan finally found his footing in IPL 2020 in the encounter versus RCB, where he bowled a fine spell of 1/20, and then followed it up with a match-winning performance in the very next game versus Mumbai, where he bowled a Super Over that choked the defending champions. However, surprisingly, the English seamer was left out by KL Rahul in Punjab’s following game versus Delhi Capitals, with the team instead preferring the all-round option of Jimmy Neesham. Picked in the side to bolster the batting, Neesham, versus Delhi, faced just eight balls, walking in at No.7, and bowled two overs to go with that.
Ahead of Punjab’s all-important clash versus the Sunrisers on Saturday, renowned expert Harsha Bhogle reckoned that Kings XI might be wasting Neesham at No.7. Bhogle noted that Neesham, if he’s picked, should bat at least at No.6 and claimed that in the case of the Kiwi all-rounder batting at No.7, Punjab would be better off picking Chris Jordan, who is a gun towards the back end of the innings.
“Neesham is wasted at No.7. You would want a player batting at No.7 to bowl more, but with Neesham, it’s the other way around - he bats more than he bowls,” Bhogle said on Cricbuzz LIVE.
“My only thing is would they want to have a Jordan for a Neesham if they don’t need him at 7? If they need him for his batting, then he has to bat at No.6 because he is a game-changer with the bat, more than with the ball. They’re doing fine at the moment, because young Arshdeep is bowling well and Shami is bowling out of his skin, but they could still have slight issues with the death bowling, given they don’t have a Jordan or a Cottrell.”
Bhogle also noted that now with Chris Gayle in the mix, Pooran firing and Maxwell regaining his touch, Kings XI have one of the most fierce batting line-ups in the entire tournament.
“I think they’ve got one of the scariest top 7 sevens going around. Both Agarwal and Rahul are in form, Gayle is looking dangerous again, and after that you’ve got Pooran, who is going to be a special player if he keeps his head intact, Maxwell, Hooda and Neesham.”
Simon Doull, meanwhile, was unhappy with Punjab’s approach and reckoned that, far too often, they pick their ‘most expensive XI’. The former Kiwi pacer claimed that the side are scared to drop Maxwell because they paid big bucks for the Australian.
“This side is too scared to drop Maxwell. They are too scared to do the right thing for their team because they paid him so much money,” Doull said.
Kings XI’s opponents on Saturday, Sunrisers Hyderabad, put an end to a three-match losing streak on Thursday by overcoming a spirited Rajasthan side. One of the stars on the night for SRH was Jason Holder, who, after coming into the side for Kane Williamson, led the pace unit and claimed a three-wicket haul. Doull noted that SRH might finally have found their best combination, particularly with both Vijay Shankar and Manish Pandey proving their mettle with the bat.
“I think SRH have probably found the right combination. It’s a tough ask but (Holder for Williamson) probably suits their combination. I say this for a couple of reasons and the big one being no Bhuvneshwar Kumar. So since they’ve lost the leader of their pack, the experience of Jason Holder is quite vital. Don’t forget, Jason Holder can also find the boundary in the back end of the innings if he wants to.
“But the biggest plus for Hyderabad is the form of Vijay Shankar and Manish Pandey. They realized they can win a game without contribution of any sort from Warner and Bairstow.”