As compared to the last 10 seasons, Kings XI Punjab has finally assembled a team that looks quite threatening for the title challenge. They have managed to assemble a strong Indian core group and have leaders in the form of our own Yuvi and R. Ashwin.
Expected playing XI-
i. Aaron Finch
ii. Mayank Agarwal
iii KL Rahul
iv Karun Nair
v. David Miller
vi. Marcus Stoinis
vii. Axar Patel
viii. Ravi Ashwin (C)
ix. Andrew Tye
x. Mohit Sharma
xi Barinder Singh
Opening: I have taken Mayank with Finch as his recent form in Ranji Trophy prove him explosive as Finch. I can justify KL Rahul to not to place him in an opening pair since middle order looks shaky to believe. At the same time its hard to have a player like monster Gayle in the squad who would be handy in few matches if Finch doesn’t set well.
Middle-order: Middle-order consists of Karun Nair, KL Rahul with Miller who can turn the game very instant. Also available with all rounding service of in-form RTM option of Stoinis who is very handy in the squad. Other than this Yuvraj, Manoj Tiwary can be a backup or in the playing eleven. Axar and Ashwin can even contribute with the bat as well.
Bowling: Spin is no concern as they have Ashwin & Axar who are seemingly good in a different way. As a backup, they have the first 21st Century player Mujeeb ZaZadran and Pardeep Sahu. Fast Bowling will be highly dependent on Andrew Tye with Mohit Sharma, which the team will suffer soon. They will have services from Barinder Singh, Ankit Rajpoot who may be still not that worthy to show off.
As a team as a whole, they have an explosive opening with reliable Middle-order and again explosive finishers with quality spinners and smooth pacers. The team looking good, but it depends on the form of its players who need to perform.
It seems that franchise has built this team with only one aim, to score at least 170+ every match). Roping in seasoned campaigners such as Manoj Tiwari, Mayank Aggarwal ( a success with RCB and a good player since KXIP lost out on Manan Vohra) and Mr. entertainment Chris Gayle, KXIP boasts of probably one of the best T20 lineups in IPL this year.
Though, KXIP looks short in terms of their pace options. A lot will depend on KXIP batsmen to score well each match so that their bowlers can defend the target.Ben Dwarshuis though is an excellent addition ( he has also been called up for Australia T20I squad). But they have excellent spin bowling unit. In R. Ashwin and Axar Patel, they have oodles of experience in T20 bowling. Pardeep Sahu played well in the last edition in the limited opportunities he got. Mayank Dagar is also an exciting young talent. All eyes will be on 16 years old -Mujeeb Zadran, for whom they bid ferociously. He has been making headlines in the current U19 WC and we hope that he gets chance to showcase his talent in the upcoming IPL as well.