KXIP have relied heavily on their openers for runs, felt Ashwin. BCCI

Just 25 balls into their do-or-die game, Kings XI Punjab lost a major part of the battle to Kolkata Knight Riders at the PCA stadium in Mohali on Friday (May 3). Sandeep Warrier, bowling a disciplined line, dismissed both KL Rahul and Chris Gayle to stun the hosts.

Punjab have been a top heavy batting side this season and a feeble middle-order meant the onus was always on Rahul and Gayle to do the bulk of the scoring. However, their early dismissals resulted in KXIP shying away from their conventional aggressive approach, which meant the runs weren't flowing at the start.

The duo in fact has managed to add over 40 runs for the opening wicket in only four out of the thirteen games. Both have taken a conservative approach at the start knowing they can make up later, but the ploy hasn't worked well in the longer run, thereby missing out on the vital extra runs.

It hasn't helped that KXIP have failed to be disciplined with the new ball, allowing oppositions to stamp the authority very early in the game, as was the case on Friday - KKR were 62/1 at the end of six overs. The team has conceded an average of 57 runs in the powerplay this season - something a team cannot do when it lacks quality bowlers the format demands.

"One of the areas we have definitely lacked this year is the powerplay, both with bat and ball," Ravichandran Ashwin said after his side was all but knocked out of the 2019 IPL.

"Last year we had great powerplay batting with Chris and KL, but this year we couldn't get off to great starts because obviously the pressure was on them and they had to do the job. We have to address this going into the next year because we have lost most games on powerplay battles.

"We won most games this season through the middle overs or sometimes at the death through some incredible performances from the likes of Shami or Sam Curran," he explained.