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IPL 10, Match 4, KXIP v RPS, Preview: New looks Kings XI Punjab aim to end losing run

Both teams had finished as the bottom two teams in the points table last year.

Marcus Stoinis Kings XI Punjab IPL 9
Mohali: Kings XI Punjab celebrates fall of a wicket during an IPL match between Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils at Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on May 7, 2016. (Photo Source: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

The Rising Pune Supergiant have started their 2017 edition of the IPL on a high after registering a thumping 7 wicket win over the Mumbai Indians at home. Now they are ready to play their first away game of the season when they take on the Kings XI Punjab at Indore. It will be the clash between the two sides that had finished as the bottom placed teams in the points table of the IPL 2016.

Also, their last encounter in the previous season had seen MS Dhoni bagging all the headlines with his herculean last over finish. Thus, the entertainment quotient is certainly very high for the match. Amidst this background, both teams will try to register a win in the important encounter. For the Rising Pune Supergiant, it will be about continuing their winning momentum, something that they had failed to do in the previous edition.

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They had started off with a win last year as well. On the other hand, the Kings XI Punjab will be a much more worried line up since they have been finishing as the bottom placed team in the last two editions of the IPL. They will be under a new leader in Glenn Maxwell this year. Virender Sehwag, their Director of Cricket Operations, has given a major statement saying the team will be playing a very aggressive brand of cricket.

Focus will be on

Glenn Maxwell

Hard hitting Kings XI batsman Glenn Maxwell had taken the IPL by storm when he lit up the 2014 edition of the IPL. However, he could not replicate his heroics in the last two editions of the tournament. This year, he has been named as the captain of the team and that will be an added bit of responsibility on him. In the 11 matches last season, he could only muster 179 runs at a very low average of 19.88. Prior to that in 2015, he had only 145 runs to his name in 11 matches at an average of 13.18.

Rajat Bhatia

Rajat Bhatia has been the underrated performer for the RPS team since last year. He has been a domestic performer but people often let him go unnoticed. Bhatia bowled a brilliant spell of 3 overs in the first match against the Mumbai Indians. He returned with figures of 2/14. His slow leg cutters and off cutters are not easy to comprehend for the batsmen and that makes him a wily customer to deal with. He was the top performer for RPS in IPL 2016 where he was often in the wicket taking options.

Team Combination – Kings XI Punjab

The Kings XI Punjab have bolstered their line up with an influx of some big overseas names like Eoin Morgan and Darren Sammy. They already have overseas giants like David Miller and Hashim Amla in their ranks. It will be interesting to see which players they field in their playing XI. Hashim Amla is likely to open the innings and in absence of Murali Vijay, it could be Wriddhiman Saha taking the opener’s role. The middle order looks set with Miller and Maxwell in line along with Eoin Morgan. Sammy, Shaun Marsh might have to wait for longer time to be drafted in the playing squad.

Meanwhile, the lower order will have Axar Patel along with Gurkeerat Singh Mann. Both players have been associated with the franchise for quite some time now. Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma might make up the pace brigade for the match. If the management opts to play two seamers, they might leave out Ishant. Having said that, the likes of Anureet Singh and Varun Aaron cannot be ignored as well. The Punjab franchise will have a tough time getting their preferred XI.

Team Combination – Rising Pune Supergiant

The Rising Pune Supergiant are most likely to field the same side and stick to their winning combination. They had a solid opener in Ajinkya Rahane who made the most of the powerplay overs. The other opener, Mayank Agarwal, was a major disappointment but is likely to get another go. The only change that they can think of making is to rope in Jaydev Unadkat in place of Ashoke Dinda. Dinda went for in excess of 50 runs in his spell of 4 overs and that might see him out of the side next match.

The middle order is yet to be tested but looks strong on paper with Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Manoj Tiwary and MS Dhoni. The pace department saw Deepak Chahar bowl well up front and he is likely to be retained. Also, they played with two leg spinners – Adam Zampa and Imran Tahir – in the previous match. At best, they can rest Zampa and play an extra batsman in the form of Faf du Plessis since the track at Indore will be more in the favor of the batsmen. Rajat Bhatia has been a very good contributor with the ball and there is no reason why he would be left out.

Kings XI Punjab Probable XI:

Hashim Amla, Wriddhiman Saha, David Miller, Glenn Maxwell, Eoin Morgan/Marcus Stoinis, Manan Vohra, Axar Patel, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma, Anureet Singh, KC Cariappa.

Rising Pune Supergiant XI:

Ajinkya Rahane, Mayank Agarwal, Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis, Ben Stokes, Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni, Rajat Bhatia, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir, Jaydev Unadkat.

StatAttack

9 – The bowling average of Adam Zampa in IPL 2016 was 9.58 – the best in the tournament.

15 – Number of wickets Sandeep Sharma took in IPL 2016 in 14 matches – the most for any bowler from KXIP.

23 – Number of runs Axar Patel gave in the last over that he bowled in the IPL.

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