Kings XI Punjab can’t put a foot wrong while Sunrisers Hyderabad don't seem to be doing most things right, writes Aakash Chopra
London: Twenty20 is a ruthless format. It can make seriously good players look like a liability for the team and good players look like rock-stars. There's a four-letter word that starts with 'F' that can make you look wise or a fool. And that magic word is Form.
If you are in form, you'll be hailed as a king but if you're out of it, pray for mercy, for this format doesn't allow any time to play yourself back into form.
If you're chasing a big total, it doesn't matter if your feet are moving well or not, it doesn't matter if you aren't picking the ball early enough because the only thing that matters is that you must start teeing off from Ball One.
The same can be said about setting a total too, for feeling your way into the innings can cost your team the match.
The Indian Premier League has this uncanny ability to make things look a lot worst or a lot better than they actually are, and that's how stars are made in a 45 days window.
Strategy at auction
Let's take the case of two teams who, I thought, were quite prudent in the auctions, albeit with a completely different strategy. Sunrisers Hyderabad focused on beefing up their bowling and added three proven strikers of the ball.
Sunrisers Hyderabad batsmen David Warner (right) and Aaron Finch during the Indian Premier League-7 match against Delhi Daredevils at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday. Pic/PTI/BCCI
The hole in their line-up was the brittle middle order, for they couldn't tap into an Indian batsman like Pandey, Uthappa or Tiwary.
On the other hand Kings XI Punjab went the whole hog to make their team a batting powerhouse with Miller, Marsh, Maxwell, Bailey, Perrera and Sehwag in the mix. Keeping Mohali in mind they also bought a plethora of fast bowlers but even after doing all that, their bowling remained on the lighter side.
They lack a quality spinner and at least one quality Indian fast bowler. IPL-7 has established that it's impossible to plug all holes and hence it's easy to understand both teams' predicament.
But their fortunes in the tournament, early days still, are heading in the opposite directions. KXIP can't put a foot wrong and SRH can't do a thing right.
Ironically, it has less to do with their respective strategies or the player selection but with the current form of their players. While Warner, Finch and Dhawan are struggling to find form, Miller and Maxwell are simply unstoppable.
Imagine this — wouldn't KXIP be a worried lot if Maxwell and Miller along with Sehwag had gone through a poor patch right from the start, for their bowling has conceded over 190 runs twice? And wouldn't SRH become a serious threat if Warner, Finch and Dhawan strike form together?
These are hypothetical questions and hence won't be asked too often but at times, the difference between the success and failure of two sides is not so much about the choice of personnel but their current form, and no tournament establishes the importance of form as the IPL.
The number of runs Kings XI Punjab's Glenn Maxwell has scored in four IPL matches; he is currently the highest run-scorer of the T20 tourney
(This column was written at the start of the weekend)