IPL 2019: Kings XI Punjab's probable playing XI against Rajasthan Royals
After a weekend packed with surprises and 3 big contests, Kings XI Punjab will take on Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur at 8:00 pm on 25th March, Monday.
This match will be the first game for both the teams and both of them will be eager to get off the mark. Both the sides made the costliest purchases at the auction and Jaydev Unadkat and Varun Chakravarthy will be put under the spotlight.
Both the sides don't have any injury troubles and look well set to begin their campaign on a winning note. Let's take a look at Kings XI Punjab's probable playing XI for their first match.
KL Rahul and Chris Gayle will undoubtedly open the batting for Punjab. Rahul was in scintillating form last season and is rediscovering himself after a lean patch during the winter. Meanwhile, 'Universe Boss' is in the form of his life and was brilliant in the home series against England and we can expect some huge sixes from him.
Rahul will likely don the wicket-keeping gloves as Punjab will look to see expensive buy Sam Curran in action, more than someone like Nicholas Pooran.
Mayank Agarwal is expected to slot in at No. 3. The Karnataka batsman is in great form and was a key part of their winning campaign in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy. He will look to build on the platform set by their openers and make some huge scores.
Karun Nair, another Karnataka batsman is expected to bat at No.4 for Punjab. He looked in decent touch in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and will look to better his sub-par scores from last season. He's one of the most talented players in this side and will anchor the innings and let others play around him.
Mandeep Singh, who was traded to KXIP in return for Marcus Stoinis will slot in at No. 5 if they prefer not to go with Pooran. He will provide much-needed stability to their middle order and can finish off games or build partnerships. While he isn't too much of a destructive player, he's very dependable and will surely take the team to a decent total.
Sam Curran can be KXIP's solution to the search for a perfect all-rounder. He's a quality batsman with good technique and a destructive edge. He can play the big shots and finish off games and has enough Test match experience to hold his composure and build partnerships. He'll be a player to watch out for this match.
Ravichandran Ashwin, the KXIP skipper will want to play the extra bowler and trust his batting for the first game. He is a decent batsman who can hang around and is a good stroke-maker.
Varun Chakrvarthy too is a handy batsman who can play the big shots and play a good cameo. His bowling will be put under the microscope because of his reputation of being a mystery spinner and because of his price tag.
Mujeeb ur Rahman will finish off what seems to be a formidable spin bowling line-up. The mystery spinner was excellent for Punjab last season and has been a revelation in both international cricket and in other T20 leagues. He will be Punjab's X-Factor whenever he plays and KXIP won't like to leave him out for their first game of the season.
Mohammed Shami will certainly be preferred over Ankit Rajpoot due to his international pedigree and brilliant form. Since they have Curran who can swing the ball very well and open the bowling, Shami will be the perfect wicket-taking bowler for Punjab and can excel this season.
Andrew Tye won the Purple Cap last season due to a tremendous display of deceptive and accurate bowling. He's one of the best death bowlers in the league and will be key for Punjab and can be a leading wicket-taker.
Probable Playing XI: KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Varun Chakravarthy, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammed Shami, Andrew Tye
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