Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will host Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 clash at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. Both the franchises have started their IPL 2020 season on an even note, winning one out of their last three encounters, and will be hoping to go one better in the match.
KXIP have a formidable line-up which has performed consistently with the likes of Mayank Agarwal and captain KL Rahul looking in good form. The franchise will also expect their hard-hitting batsman Nicholas Pooran and Glenn Maxwell to fire all cylinders with Mohammed Shami and rising star Ravi Bishnoi backing with the ball. Let us have a look at how KXIP can shape up for the match.
KXIP captain KL Rahul is looking in brilliant form and will hope to continue adding to the the purple patch. He was in red-hot form in previous edition of the IPL and will look to continue in similar fashion. It will be a personal test for him as well, which will check if he can absorb the captaincy pressure and score run with his natural ability.
KL Rahul will look to change his side from the previous XI and include Chris Gayle back to the line-up. The duo have looked solid at the top and stitched a few important partnerships in the recent times. Gayle is one of the cleanest hitters off the ball and when his bat does the talking he is hard to be stopped. Veteran West Indies batsman Gayle has established himself as a powerful striker of the ball not only for his national team but also in franchise leagues across the world. Today, there is hardly any league left, where Chris Gayle has not made his presence felt.
KXIP top-order batsman Mayank Agarwal was the lone warrior for his side during the inaugural IPL 2020 match. Agarwal showed composure and paced out his innings perfectly to help his team level the score against Delhi Capitals in the previous match. He will look to continue in the same form. His performance will also be crucial in the lucrative tournament which comes just ahead of India’s tour Down Under.
KXIP will have high hopes from Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, especially after his sensational knock in the final ODI against England. Maxwell stepped in a position when Australia were reeling at 73/5, chasing a total of 303 runs. He played a blistering knock of 108 runs off 90 deliveries and was well supported by wicket-keeper batsman Alex Carey (106) as they forged a match-winning stand of 212 runs for the visitors.
Nicholas Pooran will hope to put up a much-improved show after being dismissed for a duck in the KXIP innings and Super Over. Pooran can come in handy for KXIP. If he gets going, he can decimate an opposition with his power-hitting. Pooran has scored only 168 runs from six innings in the IPL but it is not a fair reflection of what the batsman is capable of.
Mandeep Singh has been a crucial player in the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) line-up over the years. He will continue to play a crucial role in the set up. The Punjab batsman has an ability to play quick fire cameos and rotate the strike with ease to maintain a healthy strike rate.
Krishnappa Gowtham will provide the much needed depth in the KXIP batting line-up. The franchise has struggled to bat deep over the years, however, Gowtham can change things around for the side. He was traded from Rajasthan Royals ahead of the season and can prove to be an underdog for the side.
Sheldon Cottrell can prove to be handy for the side and find his place ahead of Chris Jordan. Cottrell, who has proved his prowess in international cricket, was bought for INR 8.5 crore in the players’ auction. He will join the likes of Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran in the franchise.
Senior India pacer Mohammed Shami will spearhead the fast bowling department for Kings XI Punjab. Shami is fit and raring to go in the IPL 2020. Shami said that the temperature in UAE is much higher than India and thus there are chances of getting dehydrated or cramps.
Murugan Ashwin will have a much prominent role to play for KXIP after playing under the shadow of Ravichandran Ashwin and Mujeeb ur Rahman in previous edition. KXIP will largely depend on him as the pitches in UAE are on the slower side and expected to assist the spinners.