About the Match
Kings XI had come close to winning their maiden title in 2014, making it to the finals but the coveted prize eluded them; after a horrific run last season, they are back with a star-studded side and will take on the newly formed Gujarat Lions at Mohali on 11th April. It will be a long tournament but both teams would like to start on a winning note; while Kings XI has restructured its squad to start afresh, Gujarat Lions will see some established names coming together to play as one for this new franchise. The upcoming match will surely be an entertainer and the team that can rise up to the challenges under crunch situations, will be better placed to emerge victorious.
Kings XI Punjab
The team has pulled in a lot of foreign talent like speedsters Kyle Abbott and Mitchell Johnson, all-rounders like Farhaan Behardien, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and the captain himself David Miller, who will try to lead from the front with the bat. Local talent like Anureet Singh, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Rishi Dhawan, Axar Patel, Manan Vohra, Swapnil Singh and Sandeep Sharma will use this opportunity to showcase their skills with bat and ball.
Mohit Sharma is back after recovering from injuries and will try to prove his abilities here; Johnson too makes a comeback to the field after announcing his retirement from international cricket. Murali Vijay and Manan Vohra may open the innings with the bat and they have proven to be effective in getting the scoreboard moving; Maxwell, Miller, Behardien, Wriddhiman Saha and Shaun Marsh can stabilize the middle-order.
They have a good batting line-up and a well-rounded spin and pace attack; they will need to execute the strategy to perfection and try to win matches right from the start.
Suresh Raina will don the captain’s hat and his experience from Super Kings will be a great advantage for the team; the much adored Brendon McCullum will provide stability to the batting line-up along with other overseas players like Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith and Aaron Finch. Youngsters include Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Shah, Umang Sharma, Shivil Kaushik, Paras Dogra, Amit Mishra and Ishan Kishan, who are waiting in the wings to prove their abilities.
James Faulkner will lead the pace attack and he is in good from as see from recent outings in the World T20; Dale Steyn and Andrew Tye bring their fast-bowling skills to the team and can be ruthless if conditions assist. The experienced Pravin Tambe will be useful with his legbreaks while Sarabjit Ladda, Shadab Jakati and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja can bring variety with the spin tactics.
Medium pacer Praveen Kumar adds depth to the pace attack while Dinesh Karthik can bring stability to the batting line-up. Raina shoulders a lot of expectations and will try to make the best use of the resources; with help from stalwarts like McCullum and Bravo, the Lions can surely do wonders here.
While Kings XI will have added pressure in front of the home crowd, they have an experienced unit that can outwit the opponents; Lions will put their best foot forward but we feel the hosts, Kings XI Punjab are better placed to win their opening match