Kings XI Punjab: The Dark Horses

Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, David Miller and Andrew Tye are T20 Superstars. Add captain R Ashwin, Mujeeb-Ur Rahman and Mohammed Shami into the mix, you have a solid looking team. Punjab’s starting XI can win the game from any situation if their starting XI clicks. But what if they don’t? Form is not a question mark, their depth beyond the first XI is.

Kings XI Punjab: The Dark Horses Kings XI Punjab: The Dark Horses Source : KXIP Official Facebook

No one is talking Kings XI Punjab as IPL 2019 favourites, but they do enter the tournament as the dark horses. We know what KL Rahul and Andrew Tye did last year but they didn't receive much support from rest of the team. Now that Chris Gayle has suddenly hit a purple patch ever since he announced his ODI retirement after World Cup, David Miller has been batting well in national colours, Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman is following the footsteps of his senior Rashid Khan, making a name for himself in T20 leagues around the world; Kings XI Punjab are boasting a very competitive starting XI.

KXIP Probable XI: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, R Ashwin (c), Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Andrew Tye, Mohammed Shami, Ankit Rajpoot

Watch Out for: Sam Curran has had a dream start to his international career. Curran's main skill is his left-arm swing bowling but he impressed more with his ability with the bat lower down the order. Against India at home and Sri Lanka away, Curran played counter-attacking innings at 8 coming. Windies talent wicket-keeper Nicholas Pooran is a swashbuckling left-hand batsman who has impressed in his short T20I career thus far. Hardus Viljoen is an experienced quick from South Africa and Moises Henriques is an experienced all-rounder with ample experience in IPL.

Strengths: Kings XI Punjab are not far behind Delhi Capitals when it comes to young Indian batting talent. They have assembled a core of India's best T20 batsman KL Rahul, India's current Test opener Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair is only the second Indian after Virender Sehwag to have a test triple hundred under his name; and Mandeep Singh is a seasoned IPL campaigner. Chris Gayle, David Miller and Pooran will add some international explosive firepower. Andrew Tye has a very impressive IPL record, averaging 16 at an economy rate of 7.64. He will lead the attack with in-form Shami and Rajpoot. Captain Ashwin and Mujeeb are quality spinners to round off their bowling line-up which has both variety and experience.

Weaknesses: Lack of depth in the squad. If the playing XI doesn't fire, the replacements are unproven and do not inspire much confidence.

X-Factor: Chris Gayle is 39 years old now but he is still the ‘Universe Boss'. It seems like he is again coming back to his very best at the twilight of his career. He hit 39 sixes in 4 innings which included two centuries and two fifties helping his team draw the ODI series against the number one ranked ODI team in the world, England.

Uncapped Gem: Varun Chakravarthy is a mystery spinner from Tamil Nadu who was the joint most expensive player sold in last year's auction for ₹8.40 Crore. His performance in Tamil Nadu Premiere League and Vijay Hazare trophy earned him the call-up.

KXIP Full Squad: R Ashwin (c), Mayank Agarwal, Arshdeep Singh, Murugan Ashwin, Agnivesh Ayachi, Sam Curran, Chris Gayle, Harpreet Brar, Moises Henriques, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, David Miller, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Karun Nair, Darshan Nalkande, Nicholas Pooran, KL Rahul, Ankit Rajpoot, Simran Singh, Andrew Tye, Varun Chakravarthy, Hardus Viljoen

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