IPL 2018: KXIP v KKR, Match 44 - Kings XI Punjab Predicted XI

IPL 2018: KXIP v KKR, Match 44 – Kings XI Punjab Predicted XI

It's a big game for both sides, which means there won't be any dearth of intensity. 

Chris Gayle & KL Rahul
Chris Gayle and Lokesh Rahul of Kings XI Punjab. (Photo by Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)

After a scintillating start to their campaign, the Kings XI Punjab franchise finds themselves in a spot of bother after losing two consecutive matches. In a stark contrast to how they dominated the opponents in the first few games, KXIP seemed a little pale in their previous couple of appearances. With the fight for playoff spots getting intense, this form is something Preity Zinta‘s club cannot afford.

They will be locking horns under the scorching sun in Indore on Saturday afternoon against the wounded Kolkata Knight Riders. The Knights got absolutely battered at the hands of Mumbai Indians a couple of days ago, which had a prolifically bad impact on their net run rate. It’s a big game for both sides, which means there won’t be any dearth of intensity.

Virender Sehwag, Ravichandran Ashwin and the other members in the think tank made some changes in the XI which didn’t prove fruitful. Henceforth, we might see one or two changes again in the side. Here’s the predicted XI of the Kings, who aim to move another step closer towards a top-four finish.

Openers – (Chris Gayle, KL Rahul)

The great man from Jamaica has gone a little silent in the last few games, but that takes nothing away from Chris Gayle’s inimitable talent to change games all by himself. He is absolutely pivotal for the KXIP as they enter a very important phase of the tournament.

KL Rahul is another stupendous talent who is proving himself as one of the big things in Indian cricket right now. He is right up there amongst the best batsmen in this tournament and is very hungry for runs right now. It’d be fair to say their batting department is a little over-dependent on this guy to get the runs.

Middle Order – (Karun Nair, Akshdeep Nath, Manoj Tiwary)

Ravichandran Ashwin batted at number three in the previous games ahead of 4 accomplished batters, a move which didn’t work well for them. Hence, Karun Nair in all likelihood will take up the number 3 spot. He has registered some decent knocks already and is at his best when he bats up the order.

Akshdeep Nath had a prolific domestic season which prompted the KXIP management to rope him into the XI. He’s an exciting young talent trying to prove himself on the biggest stage in cricket and despite failing to make it count in the previous game, he’ll get another game. Manoj Tiwary is another player the management has not utilizing to optimum effect.

All-rounders – (Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin)

KXIP are blessed with three talented all-rounders in Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, and Ravichandran Ashwin, who can contribute profusely in all dimensions of the game. But their form has been a major concern for the management and it’s important they all rise up to the occasion.

Ashwin’s promotion in the batting order last game made a top order player like Marcus Stoinis bat at number 8, which will not be fruitful on most occasions. Axar and Ashwin’s main contribution comes with the ball and hopefully for their fans, they will try and provide 8 good overs amongst themselves.

Bowlers – (Andrew Tye, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb Ur Zadran)

Andrew Tye was a tad expensive in the first few games but has slowly turned out to be their strike bowler this season. He is also one of the contenders for the purple cap, which explains how important he is for their bowling unit. Mujeeb Zadran has been absolutely outstanding this season and the young teenage sensation will be eager to take his side to the knockouts.

Ankit Rajpoot was unfortunate to lose his place to Mohit Sharma in the last game, but he might be re-earning his place. Mohit had an awful game and bowled just three overs, which didn’t serve the purpose behind his inclusion. Rajpoot has been impressive with his pace and agility, which might force the captain to get him back in the XI.

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