About the Match
Pune kickstarted their IPL campaign in style with skipper Steve Smith hammering two sixes to seal the game. They'll now be up against Kings XI Punjab who will be playing their first match of the season tomorrow at Holkar Stadium, Indore. Both the teams have a couple of things in common; they both had a terrible last season and they both have a new Australian skipper. Glenn Maxwell would love to run-off his Test form and make a mark early in this tournament. The visitors, on the other hand, would like to register another win and gain good ground early in the tournament. With both skippers being naturally aggressive, no team would hold back and we expect yet another thrilling game of cricket.
Toss has been of significance importance at Holkar Stadium. Owing to batting-friendly nature of the deck, teams generally like to post big totals and defend. Statistically, teams batting first have won seven out of ten games played here. Win the toss and bat first could well be the winning mantra for the teams here.
Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab has a squad which clearly reflects the culture of their team and their approach coming into the tournament. Right from the top of the order, Punjab has players who can strike the ball long and hard. They've retained their core players, despite a dismal performance which leaves many questions unanswered.
Punjab enjoys a strong middle selection pool with players like David Miller, Shaun Marsh, Eoin Morgan and Marcus Stonis Available. Being a skipper, Glenn Maxwell would automatically walk into the squad and only two of Marsh, Miller, Stoinis, and Morgan will be selected in final eleven if Amla gets to play.
The problem of plenty follows Punjab in the bowling department as well. They have the likes of Mohit Sharma and Sandeep Sharma who have done well in the previous tournaments. They picked T Natarajan, who impressed one and all in Tamil Nadu Premier League, as a death overs specialist.
The absence of the absence of a reputed Indian player continues to be their biggest worry, especially after Vijay has been ruled out due to injury. They only have Wridhimann Saha and Axar Patel who have played high-pressure games and if their overseas players get out cheaply, this team can crack under pressure.
Likely Starting XI:
Manan Vohra - Wridhimann Saha (wk) - Glenn Maxwell (c) - Eoin Morgan - David Miller - Marcus Stoinis - Axar Patel - KC Cariappa - Mohit Sharma -T Natarajan.
Rising Pune Supergiants
Rising Pune Supergiants started off from where they left last year; their captain hitting the big sixes. Although their captain has changed, but not the ability to finish off with sixes. Rising Pune Supergiants started their campaign in swashbuckling fashion as they registered a comprehensive victory over Mumbai Indians.
Pune's batting looked in pristine touch with Rahane and Agarwal getting the team off to a flyer. Rahane got out after an uncharacteristically quick fifty, but Smith continued the carnage. With little cameos from MSD and the costliest man in the IPL, Ben Stokes, Pune crossed the finished line with two balls to spare.
With the ball, they weren't as good as they were with the bat. Ashok Dinda and Deepak Chahar leaked runs up front and at the death and we expect Shardul Thakur to come into the team. The bowlers were smashed for 39 in final two overs which could have been a telling difference.
Imran Tahir, who was picked ahead of Faf du Plessis, was the game-changing selection as he sent Rohit Sharma, Parthiv Patel and Jos Buttler back into the hut. With Zampa, Stokes and Rajat Bhatia, their bowling looks good, but its their batting which needs to click for them to be able to make a mark this year.
Likely Starting XI:
Ajnikya Rahane - Mayank Agarwal - Steve Smith (c) - Ben Stokes
- MS Dhoni (wk) - Manoj Tiwary - Rajat Bhatia - Jayadev Unadkat - Adam Zampa - Imran Tahir
The Numbers Game
- Kings XI Punjab has finished at the bottom of the table three times, the joint most by any team. Another team is Delhi Daredevils.
- MS Dhoni scored a fifty when the two teams met last time. He scored 23 runs in the final over to guide RPS to victory.
- Indore is a happy hunting ground for MS Dhoni. He scored 92 runs and was declared man of the match the last time he played at this venue. The opponent was South Africa and India won the match by 22 runs.
Despite a new skipper and a relatively new team, Pune looked like a brilliantly gelled unit. Kings XI Punjab, on the other hand, has retained their core and will be playing their first game in the tournament. Things weren't bright for KXIP in the previous two editions of the tournament and they'd love to change it. Pune appears to be a settled unit with an excellent balance of Indian and Overseas players and is our pick for tomorrow's game