They are the team's leading performers, but Lokesh Rahul and Chris Gayle's batting in the Powerplay overs was one of the "massive problems", opined Kings XI Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin after team failed to make it to the play-offs in Season 12 of the Indian Premier League.
Rahul scored 522 runs in 13 games, with a strike-rate of a shade under 130 and six scores of above 50 (one century and five 50s), while has scored 462 runs in 12 games, with a strike-rate of 152-plus and top score of 99.
"We have to address the areas that we are lagging. One of such area is the Powerplay both with the ball and the bat. Last year, we had a great batting Powerplay with Chris (Gayle) and KL (Rahul), but this year we couldn't get off to great starts, obviously because the pressure was on them and they had to like, do a job," Ashwin said, after losing to Kolkata Knight Riders by seven wickets in Mohali on Friday.
"We have to address this going into the next year because we have lost most games on Powerplay battles. It has been a massive problem," said Ashwin.
Injuries to key players was also a problem, added the Test specialist.
"We had a few challenges going into this year from last year. We had a few options; we picked up a few people and they got injured. That's not ideally how we like to look at it. We definitely put our best team that we could, we have tried our best and there has been a lot of positives that have come out this season," lamented Ashwin, trying to put up a brave front.
He praised all-rounder Sam Curran, who hit a 24-ball unbeaten 55, but admitted that the Powerplay was the problem area for his team.
"Sam Curran did a great job for us; he was pretty good," he said.
Asked if Andrew Tye's ineffectiveness affected the team, he replied, "when you have your overseas seamers and bowlers, you definitely bank on them, but, like I said, Powerplay has been one of our massive problems. Most games that we won is because through the middle overs or sometimes in the death overs where you had some incredible performances by (Mohd) Shami or Sam (Curran), something like that."
Defending Tye, he said, "If you have to look in hindsight, bowlers go through such phases. AJ (Tye) had a fantastic IPL last year, but I think it is also about batsman coming out with different methods.
"He (Tye) has definitely tried hard; it is not (because of) lack of efforts that he has not been very good this year. I am sure that he will get better; he is quite a smart cricketer. He tries to give his best on the field. These sort of phases are quite common for a cricketer in his career, but I am sure he will learn from this."