With six losses in seven games, Kings XI Punjab are almost on the brink of getting eliminated from IPL 2020. Very few things have gone right for Kings XI Punjab in the current edition of the cash-rich league and one more loss will dash their hopes of reaching the playoffs. Hence, the 2014 edition finalists need to win every game and by a significant margin.
KL Rahul, who is the Orange Cap holder and runs significantly more than his rivals, is under-fire not only as a batsman but also captain. The 28-year old’s strike rate has been under the scanner, mainly his inability to pace his innings as per the requirement of the team. Kings XI Punjab also find themselves in a fix regarding their best overseas players. They will face Royal Challengers Bangalore in Sharjah against whom they scored their only victory in IPL 2020.
We take a look at Kings XI Punjab’s predicted XI ahead of their IPL 2020 game against Royal Challengers Bangalore:
KL Rahul (c):
With 387 in seven matches so far, KL Rahul is the highest run-getter in IPL 2020 by a mile. The last time these two sides met, KL Rahul blasted an unbeaten hundred in Dubai and Punjab won by 97 runs. However, the Karnataka batsman will face a different bowling attack and capable of cutting his scoring areas significantly. The KXIP skipper scored 74 off 58 deliveries against Kolkata Knight Riders; however, could not take his side over the line.
Mayank Agarwal is second in the race for Orange Cap with 337 runs under his belt. Mayank Agarwal scored 56 against Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi and was the aggressor in the 115-run opening stand with KL Rahul. The right-handed batsman mustered those runs off 39 deliveries that contained six fours and a maximum. Hence, the Karnataka batsman would like to keep his form going.
Nicholas Pooran has been in a red-hot form and followed his whirlwind 77 off 37 deliveries with another quick-fire knock against Kolkata Knight Riders. Nicholas Pooran smacked two fours and a six in his 10-ball 16 until he went for the big shot and lost his wicket. It was then that Punjab’s innings began faltering and fell two runs short in pursuit of 165.
Prabhsimran Singh (wk):
The decision to send Prabhsimran Singh ahead of Glenn Maxwell in the match against Kolkata Knight Riders received plenty of criticism. The keeper-batsman could not get the big shots when required and ended up losing his wicket in seven deliveries, managing four runs. However, Singh could well retain his spot.
Glenn Maxwell came in at number five against Kolkata Knight Riders and was hugely under pressure. Maxwell, who has faced underutilization of his skills, marginally missed out on hitting a six off the final delivery when seven runs were required. The ball landed inches before the rope as Kings XI Punjab lost by two runs.
Mandeep Singh replaced Sarfaraz Khan for Kings XI Punjab two games ago and made a promising start. However, Mandeep Singh has not been able to deliver under pressure. The youngster had the opportunity against Kolkata Knight Riders; however, all he managed was a first-ball duck. Nevertheless, Mandeep could most likely retain his spot.
Ravi Bishnoi has probably been the best player from Kings XI Punjab, having chipped in with crucial wickets in the middle overs. So far, the leggie has bagged eight wickets in seven games and delivered an economical spell against Kolkata Knight Riders. With the pitch undergoing wear and tear, Bishnoi would be expected to exploit the conditions in Sharjah.
Sheldon Cottrell missed the game against Kolkata Knight Riders, owing to a groin injury. However, Kings XI Punjab declared him fit for the crucial clash against RCB. The left-arm seamer dismissed the top-order cheaply the last time Kings XI Punjab faced Virat Kohli’s men and take Chris Jordan’s spot in Sharjah.
Mohammed Shami has been one of the best bowlers in the tournament; however, he has not received enough support from his colleagues. Mohammed Shami bowled an economical spell of bowling against Kolkata Knight Riders, taking the wicket of Rahul Tripathi and leaking only 30 runs in four overs.
Arshdeep Singh has been a revelation for Kings XI Punjab, shining with the new-ball and been equally brilliant at the death. Arshdeep Singh earned a maiden and took the wicket of Andre Russell in his four overs against the Knight Riders. The left-arm seamer will face an uphill challenge containing the likes of Virat Kohli, Aaron Finch, and AB De Villiers in Sharjah.
Afghanistan spin-bowler Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman played his first match of IPL 2020 against SunRisers Hyderabad; however, has remained ineffective and ended up wicketless so far. He was the most expensive bowler against Kolkata Knight Riders, having an economy rate of 11 in four overs. Nevertheless, the slow tracks in Sharjah will indeed suit Mujeeb’s style and fancy his chances of creating an impact.