Overview : The Kings XI Punjab had impressed the last time the IPL was played in the UAE. They reached the finals in that year but apart from that season, they have made only one appearance in the play-offs. However, their fans would be hoping that a new captain can bring new ideas to the team philosophy.
Captain : KL Rahul
Support Staff : Anil Kumble (Team director and Head coach), Andy Flower (asst. Coach), Wasim Jaffer (Batting coach), Jhonty Rhodes (fielding coach), Charl Langeveldt (Bowling coach).
Squad : –
Strengths : This team has a well-balanced bowling unit. They can start with Shami and Mujeeb in the powerplay, the latter is used to bowling in the first six overs anyways. Neesham and Jordan executive the yorkers well in the final overs and offer their services while batting too. Bishnoi, the young leggie can find suitable dry conditions in the UAE. Also, the last time the IPL was played in the UAE in 2014 they had the best record out of all the teams so these venues are happy hunting grounds for them.
Trivia : Punjab did not lose a single match from the IPL 2014 that was held in the UAE whereas the other teams lost atleast 1 match here.
Kings XI Punjab’s record in the UAE:-
Matches – 5, won – 5, Lost – 0.
Weaknesses : Their lack of experience in the greater stages of the tournament and inconsistency has been their enemy. For example in IPL 2018, they did well to start off the tournament and looked like genuine title contenders but eventually lost their way and finished seventh by losing all of their Last five matches. The absence of a strong core group of players who have represented them for a good 3 or 4 years hurts them too.
Player to watch out for :-
Ravi Bishnoi :
The 20-year old leg-spinner was the highest wicket taker in the 2020 under-19 cricket world cup. He almost took India to a victory in the finals. He usually bowls the googly as his stock delivery at a good speed which hurries the batsman. He will be working with Anil Kumble who was a great leggie himself.
Team combination and probable XI :
If Chris Gayle finds a place in the XI, then in that case they will have to compromise on either Maxwell or Pooran in the middle order and both players’ presence in those positions matter. Gayle did not participate in the recently concluded CPL and is unlikely to play all 14 games this season because of the hot conditions and the team dynamics which wouldn’t allow other necessary foreign players to feature in the XI if he plays.
1. KL Rahul (C & WK) 2. Mayank 3. Karun Nair 4. Maxwell 5.Pooran 6. Sarfaraz/ Mandeep 7. Jordan 8. Shami 9. Mujeeb 10. Bishnoi 11. I Porel
Predicted finish : They have a good record in these conditions but the lack of experience could cost them. Somewhere around 6th or 7th position would be expected.
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