One of the defining images of IPL 2014 was Piyush Chawla running around the ground after hitting the winning boundary for Kolkata Knight Riders against Kings XI Punjab when the equation was 4 to get from 4 balls. He hit the juicy full toss from Parvinder Awana over point and started off on a lap around the ground.

When the two teams met for the first time in the IPL after that night in Bangalore, the trauma of that defeat did not seem to have left the Kings XI. They squandered another winning position, giving away 88 runs from the last 47 balls they bowled after pinning down the Knight Riders in their chase of 156 by picking up five early wickets.

Guess who was there to hit the winning runs. Piyush Chawla. The situations were starkly different, though. There were 14 balls left when Knight Riders needed just 4 to win. Chawla edged the shortish ball from Johnson past slips to hand Kings XI another defeat, one that could spread panic among their dressing room. For two matches in a row, their bowling has hit a dead wall after good starts. If Manish Pandey was the tormentor for them in the 2014 final, this time around it was Andre Russel who changed the course of the match with his brutal knock of 66 runs off 36 balls.

Kings XI bowl uninspiringly again

Even thought the IPL is a long tournament with 14 matches, the past experiences of teams show that once a team gets into a losing habit, it is very difficult to recover. The matches come thick and fast without allowing too much downtime for the players, and fatigue takes a greater toll on a losing side. That’s why so many teams have looked like spent forces halfway through the season. Kings XI must not to go that route. They have already lost three of their first four games and are lying sixth position on the table.

What is hampering progress is the bowling in the last overs. Today they reduced Knight Ride­rs to 60 for 5, but after that they had no answer to Andre Russel, who forged a sixth wicket partnership of 95 from nearly 10 overs with Yusuf Pathan.

Axar Patel bowled the over that changed the game in favour of KKR. Pulled for four, slog-swept for six, cut for four. Axar Patel's armoury looked barren against Russel, who has built up a reputation as an effective finisher. His trajectory was getting flatter and flatter after each ball.

Johnson did not seem to have recovered from the pasting he received at the hands of Delhi Daredevils. Suryakumar Yadav hit him for two sixes in his first over. He got the consolatioan wicket of Russel in the end, but it was too late. Johnson finished with figures of 3.5 -0-41-1.

Sandeep Sharma's double strike and Saha's brilliant catch

Sandeep Sharma's double strike in the eighth over seemed to have shifted the balance towards Kings XI. He was lucky to get Ryan ten Doeschate leg before when the replays clearly confirmed that the batsman had got an inside edge to pads. The very next ball,  Gautam Gambhir chased a delivery outside off and the ball took the bottom edge, which was safely taken by Saha.

Earlier, Saha took another splendid catch to dismiss a dangerous-looking Yadav who tried to run one down to third man. The ball went really fine and Saha dived acrobatically to his right to gobble up the chance.

Horrible start to Kings XI's innings

Earlier in the day, after KKR captain Gambhir put Kings XI in to bat, they endured the worst possible start they could have imagined. Vijay chipped one to midwicket off  UmeshYadav. Saha got an edge which rebounded to first slip off Morkel, and Sehwag played one straight to square-leg off Russel to leave them reeling at 27 for 3.

It took a rescue mission by captain George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell to get them to 90 within the first 12 overs. The stage was set for two of the biggest hitters of world cricket in the last 8 overs, but Maxwell skied one from Yadav and holed out, leaving Bailey to guide the rest of the innings. Thisara Perera, who was brought into the side in place of David Miller, could not get going and Kings XI were left at 107 for 5 after 14.

Bailey took most of the strike after that and scored anther fifty, in the process becoming the highest run-getter so far in this edition of the IPL. He got 60 off 45 and was run out going for a risky double. Bailey would have known as he trudged back that his much talked-about batting lineup has not delivered as a unit, and it would be difficult to defend such a paltry total on this good wicket.

Going ahead, Kings XI could adopt the strategy of trying to chase in every match, because it would take the pressure away from their thin bowling line up and the naturally attacking batsmen would be better placed to measure their approach and rein their aggression in if needed.