IPL Preview | Kings XI Punjab


Except for one year to the final, Punjab is another team that struggled throughout and is yet to get their hands on the Trophy. They have tried everything possible. Right from changing the captain to the team management. The result remained literally the same. Can they do it this time?

Last year, the fans were divided for Ashwin’s captaincy. There were a few masterstrokes while a few major blunders that killed their chances. He wasn’t too bad though. This year once again will be a test for his captaincy. Can he make full use of it?

Possibly the only big change from last year to this year will be their team management. Oh yes, the all-rounder Sam Curran.

Strength:

  1. To start with, the form of Chris Gayle this year. The Universal Boss is super pumped up with some out of the box knocks in the ODIs that happened this year. In the four innings he played, Gayle has scored 424 runs. Along with KL Rahul, who is trying his best to find a place for himself in the World Cup squad will have to put on an outstanding show just like last year.
  2. The inclusion of Sam Curran has really strengthened their batting down the order. He can be useful when the team needs quick runs. Just don’t be surprised if Ashwin promotes Sam Curran above his middle-order.
  3. David Miller and Nicholas Pooran are once again match-winners. They will be raring to go as well. Both of them provides the wicket-keeping option as well. Consistency will be the key though.
  4. Ashwin, Mujeeb Ur Rahman will have partners in the name of
    Varun Chakravarthy (on whom they cashed a lot), Murugan Ashwin. They also have a lot of options when it comes to bowling.

Weaknesses:

  1. Despite having power-hitters in the team, Punjab doesn’t have someone who can provide starts consistently. If the opening partnership is destroyed, we might not know how effective will Pooran or Miller will be. Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair not exactly being T20 specialist, they can provide the anchor role but will they be able to switch gears consistently? Can they trust players like Sarfaraz Khan with an opportunity?
  2. While coming to the bowling, though they have various options, they miss a match-winner, especially, in pacers. Say someone like Bumrah. Yes, they have Tye but he isn’t as good as he used to be.
  3. David Miller wasn’t among the runs the last season and will be raring to go this season but will be replaced by the players in better form than him, say Vijoen?
  4. Captain Ashwin should lead the team from the front but it’s been months since the all-rounder played in the international limited overs. Can this IPL give him a chance to get back to the team?
  5. Sarfaraz Khan was too young when his talent was spotted by the RCB team. He did perform there as well. Can he do it again this year?

PROBABLE XI:
Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, David Miller/Nicolas Pooran, Mayank Agarwal/ Sarfaraz Khan, Karun Nair/ Harpreet Brar, Sam Curran/ Vijoen, Mujeeb Ur Rahman/ Andrew Tye, R Ashwin, Varun Chakravarthy/ M Ashwin/ Ankit Rajpoot, M Shami