Cricket

This will be the Kings XI Punjab playing XI against Rising Pune Supergiant

Kings XI Punjab had a superb run in IPL 2014 under the leadership of their Aussie Captain George Bailey. They went on to the finals only to lose narrowly to the Kolkata Knight Riders in a high scoring thriller. However, they have failed to live up to the expectations in the last two seasons as they underperformed massively to end up at the bottom of the table each time. A lot of factors contributed to their poor performances in 2015 and 2016; one of them was the frequent change in captaincy. They are going to have a new captain in Glenn Maxwell for the third straight year. It remains to be seen if he can emulate the same success as his Australian team-mate George Bailey did in 2014 or can even better that to claim the ultimate prize.

 

KXIP have been jolted early in the season as Murali Vijay has been ruled out of the entire season through injury. Ishant Sharma, who went unsold in the IPL auctions, has been brought in as his replacement. It remains to be seen if he can send the same message as Tahir did the other day taking three wickets against Mumbai Indians after going unsold in the auction. Martin Guptill, Darren Sammy, Eoin Morgan and Varun Aaron are some of the notable new additions to the squad. T Natarajan, a fast bowler who came into the limelight because of the Tamil Nadu Premier League, will be a surprise weapon for them this year. They have a lot of players to choose from as far as batsmen are concerned. Taking into account all of these, let us have a look at the Probable XI of KXIP as they take on the Rising Pune Super Giants at Indore.

 

 

Openers:

Manan Vohra and Shaun Marsh

Vohra and Marsh have been regular campaigners for the KXIP at the top of the order for the past three seasons now. While Marsh is considered as one of the best T20 batsmen in the world at the moment, Vohra is nothing less than him if not the same. A homegrown talent, Vohra has played many notable innings for the KXIP Punjab in the last three seasons whereas Marsh has always provided them with the reliability they needed at the top of the order. Moreover, the left hand-right hand combination at the top works well for the team as constant rotation of strike creates a big problem for the opposition bowlers. While there are two other opening options in Hashim Amla and Martin Guptill, Vohra and Marsh are most likely to open.

 

 

Middle Order:

Wriddhiman Saha(wk), Glenn Maxwell(C), David Miller, Gurkeerat Singh Mann

If the trio of Saha, Maxwell and Miller can do justice to their abilities this season, it is likely that they can go all the way to the finals. Good news is that both Saha and Maxwell have been in top-notch form with the bat. And if Miller joins the party as well, the trio can become a nightmare for the opposition teams. Moreover, Gurkeerat Mann is no less with the bat; he has rescued his team out of trouble a lot of times in the past and has the ability to do the same in case the trio fails to deliver.

 

 

All-Rounders:

Marcus Stoinis and Axar Patel

These two form a good blend of all-rounders for KXIP. While Stoinis bowls medium pace, Patel bowls quality left arm orthodox. Stoinis’ form with both bat and ball was the silver lining in the dark cloud last season for KXIP and he would be hoping to do the same this year as well. Axar Patel, on the other hand, may seem to be lean and wiry, but he can hit the ball quite long whenever required. So, they are quite a vital cog for the team.

 

Bowlers:

Mohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma and Sandeep Sharma

The ‘Sharma duo’ just got converted into the ‘Sharma Trio’ with the addition of Ishant Sharma this year. While Mohit and Sandeep have proved what they can do with the ball in the past seasons, it remains to be seen if Ishant can prove his critics to be wrong while playing for his new team. Mohit and Sandeep will most probably take up new ball duties for their team whereas Ishant will take charge of the middle overs. If KXIP wants to do well this season, the contribution of the trio with the ball will be vital.

 

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