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IPL 2019: Kings XI Punjab Predicted XI

Kings XI Punjab side looks a lot more balanced than what it was last year.

Andrew Tye
Kings XI Punjab’s Andrew Tye celebrates fall of Evin Lewis’ wicket. (Photo by IANS)

The Kings XI Punjab side has witnessed two extremes in the last season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). In the first half of the league, they were highly dominative forces topping the points table. But, they lost their way in the latter half of the tournament and most of their flaws were exposed.

The side was over-reliant on their opener KL Rahul. With not many reliable options in the middle-order, the side completely fell apart from the best of situations once the openers fell. There were a lot of top-order batsmen who were forced to bat in the middle-order which led to this downfall. Furthermore, they didn’t have all-rounders who could turn the game on its head which posed some more troubles.

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Hence, the franchise released most of its players ahead of the 2019 auction and went in with the largest purse. They tried to address the issues that existed earlier and got their bases covered. The management invested in some young, budding talent keeping the future requirements in mind. A total of 13 players were bought and the side looks to be well-rounded now.

Here is the best starting XI for Kings XI Punjab:

Openers (KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal)

KL Rahul was the lone-warrior for the Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2018. He single-handedly carried the entire lineup and was mesmerizing to watch. However, things have changed drastically since then and the right-hander seems to have lost his touch completely. KXIP will hope for him to rediscover the lost form sooner than later. Rahul will be relieved of the keeping duties for the upcoming IPL.

Mayank Agarwal didn’t have a good time last year. He looked to be slightly misplaced in the batting order. However, he is expected to open the innings alongside KL Rahul and provide the side with some good starts. Accommodating Chris Gayle seems to be tough at least at the start of the tournament.

Middle Order (Nicholas Pooran (wk), Karun Nair, Mandeep Singh)

Nicholas Pooran, Karun Nair and Mandeep Singh might be the three men in the middle-order. Pooran showed glimpses of what he is capable of in the recent India-Windies T20I series. He is a good player of spin and is capable of doing well in the subcontinent. He is expected to spice up things with some big hitting walking in at three.

Karun Nair and Mandeep Singh must do well at four and five for the team to succeed. Prabhsimran Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, and David Miller would be eagerly waiting for their opportunities. Hence, it is important for this duo, being the senior members in the squad, to deliver the goods.

All Rounders (Sam Curran, Varun Chakravarthy)

The Kings have also stocked up their squad with some good all-rounders. England’s young sensation Sam Curran was picked up at quite a high price point and there will be high expectations on him. He can swing the ball either way and is great with the new ball. Moreover, his cameos down the order will come in handy.

The mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy is another bowler on whom there will be a lot of eyes. He is coming off some great reputation and has gained enough experience bowling at the CSK and KKR nets. Varun is highly economical and also can strike a few hard blows with the bat.

Bowlers (R Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Ankit Rajpoot)

Ravichandran Ashwin and Mujeeb Ur Rahman will be the other two spinners in the side. Ashwin made some questionable decisions in IPL 2018. But, he is quite a quick learner and will hope to make the most of the experience that he has got. Mujeeb is top-class in the powerplay. Along with Varun, he can bamboozle the opposition.

Andrew Tye, on the other hand, was Ashwin’s go-to man last season. Even though he is slightly on the expensive side, Tye is amongst the wickets regularly. With 24 wickets, he was also the Purple Cap winner. He will be sharing the pace bowling duties with Ankit Rajpoot.

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