Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has made a fervent appeal for the inclusion of Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) playing XI for their IPL 2020 clash against the Sunrisers Hyderabad tonight.
He gave this opinion while previewing the clash between the two sides in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
Aakash Chopra started off by pointing out that KXIP have had a poor run in the IPL thus far. The team currently occupies the last position in the points table.
"Punjab have lost four of their five matches. They have even lost matches they should have won. They are at the bottom of the table but the only thing good about them is their net run rate."
The reputed commentator added that the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the SRH lineup for the rest of the IPL will be a massive blow for them.
"SRH do not have Bhuvi. And Bhuvi not being there is a huge setback for them. They have won just two matches. They had already done the change in the last match when Bhuvi was not there as they included Sandeep Sharma and Siddarth Kaul."
He observed that Sandeep Sharma and Siddarth Kaul did not have the best of times in the last match and one of them can be replaced by Khaleel Ahmed, subject to the latter's availability.
"But they are not bowling well also, so if Khaleel is available they should play him but I don't feel there is a scope of much change in the rest of the team."
Aakash Chopra opined that KXIP should necessarily play Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who could come into the playing XI at the expense of Chris Jordan.
"Talking about KXIP, I have been saying like a broken record that they should play Mujeeb. Chris Jordan did not have a good last match as well, he has played two matches only, their first and the last, so they can get Mujeeb instead of him."
The former KKR player reasoned that the Afghanistan mystery spinner is a potent weapon who can keep the celebrated SRH top order in check even with the new ball.
"Mujeeb is a match-winner, he has the quality to get the batsmen stuck and the opposition will have Bairstow, Warner and Kane Willimason and he will be able to bowl with the new ball. He is a champion bowler and I feel that it is a change that they should definitely make."
He added that KXIP also have the option of including Murugan Ashwin or Ishan Porel in their playing XI.
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"They can also play Murugan Ashwin, even Ishan Porel is sitting out, they can look at him as well. They will have to change something as they are not winning despite not playing that badly."
Aakash Chopra on the player battle to watch out for in the KXIP vs SRH clash
"Rashid Khan against KL Rahul is the player battle I am looking forward to watch."
The 43-year-old opined that the KXIP opener is likely to adopt a more aggressive approach in tonight's encounter and stated that the SRH leg-spinner would have additional responsibilities on his shoulders in Bhuvneshwar Kumar's absence.
"Rahul has been batting well. In the last match he batted a little slowly in the beginning but in this match I feel he will bat in an aggressive manner. Rashid becomes an even bigger bowler in Bhuvi's absence because there is more responsibility on him."
He observed that Rashid Khan has a slight edge over the KXIP captain, because of the massive size of the ground and the additional pressures of captaincy on the latter.
"So it will enjoyable to watch this contest. I feel Rashid Khan has a slight edge here because this ground is very big and Rahul will have the additional pressure of captaincy."
Aakash Chopra signed off by picking KXIP as the probable winner in the clash between the two sides today.
"I am expecting Punjab to win."
Both the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Kings XI Punjab would be hoping to register a win in tonight's encounter and get their flagging campaigns back on track. The two sides would be desperate to get back to winning ways if they want to harbour any hopes of making it through to the playoffs of IPL 2020.
Published 08 Oct 2020, 14:40 IST