IPL 2016: Kings XI Punjab seek positive start against newbie Gujarat Lions

first_imgKings XI Punjab (KXIP) had a disastrous last season by finishing at the bottom of points table and in this edition of Indian Premier League they would like to put up a much improved show. KXIP start their campaign against IPL debutants Gujarat Lions today in Mohali.In the auction, KXIP didn’t make any big buys and would be led by South African David Miller, who has replace George Bailey after the Australian was released by the team. Virender Sehwag has been appointed the team’s mentor and it would be interesting to see how the new buys would provide balance to the KXIP outfit.For the new season, KXIP have roped in the likes of allrounders Farhaan Behardien and Marcus Stoinis, seamer Mohit Sharma and left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh.Last season, their batsmen lacked consistency and whenever they did well, the bowlers let the side down.On the other hand, debutants Gujarat Lions have a balanced side with top-class performers in both batting and bowling. (Full IPL 2016 coverage )They have explosive batsmen in Brendon McCullum, captain Suresh Raina, Aaron Finch and a plenty of top-notch all-rounders in Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja and James Faulkner.These T20 specialists can be dispersed through the order and some of them like Raina and Bravo can anchor or attack. Bravo, along with Faulkner, is a high-quality, death-overs bowler as well.But the weak link for the Gujarat side could be the pace-bowling department as they don’t have any big name – Indian or overseas – except for South African Dale Steyn.advertisementThe side’s pace department are made up most of by medium pacers. It will also have to be seen whether Steyn will make the final eleven on Monday, considering his poor form in the T20 format recently. Besides, only four overseas players are allowed in the line-up.For Kings XI Punjab, a big responsibility would lie on the shoulders of the likes of Miller, Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Murali Vijay and Mitchell Johnson.Miller has very little captaincy experience – he has led a side only thrice in domestic cricket – and he will also have to do the heavy lifting in the batting line-up along with Maxwell. Manan Vohra looks set to open with Vijay, despite their poor run last year. Kings XI also have the option of Shaun Marsh, who has been part of their set-up since the inception of the league.The spin department will have Axar Patel and Maxwell, who has often been considered a frontline option by Australia. Gurkeerat Singh, Swapnil Singh and K C Cariappa can provide the back up.Johnson, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma and Kyle Abbott will be the main pace bowlers but they need to start afresh in the grueling IPL.Sandeep had missed the entire Indian domestic season in 2015-16 because of injury, while Mohit sustained one of his own during the Vijay Hazare Trophy and was subsequently ruled out of India’s limited-overs tour to Australia, the Asia Cup, and World T20.Johnson, who was retained in the squad, has not played competitive cricket since his international retirement last November.(with PTI inputs)last_img

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