Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has opined that Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) should definitely play Chris Gayle in their game against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) today although his batting position could be a bit of a question mark.
Chopra made this observation while previewing the clash between the two teams in a video shared on his YouTube channel. He also said that while Kings XI Punjab are in dire straits, Kolkata Knight Riders have had a reasonably good run in IPL 2020.
"Kings XI Punjab are in a very bad situation, and KKR are not that bad actually. They did not start the tournament well but have accumulated three wins and even defeated CSK in their last match, a match they could have lost."
The reputed commentator observed that Kings XI Punjab's campaign would almost come to an end if they lose today's match as they already face an uphill task to qualify for the playoffs.
"Kings XI Punjab lost the first match in the Super Over, (a game) they should have won. After that they won one match convincingly against RCB but have lost five matches other than that. If they lose today, this is their halfway stage, if they lose six of their seven matches after that they can bid goodbye to their campaign."
Kings XI Punjab likely to play Chris Gayle instead of Glenn Maxwell against KKR: Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra said that Kings XI Punjab are likely to field Chris Gayle instead of Glenn Maxwell against KKR as the Australian has failed to make any significant contribution in IPL 2020.
"In terms of the team changes required, I feel Gayle will play because they were saying that he would have played the previous match if he had been fit. If he plays, Glenn Maxwell has to go out because he has not scored runs, and there is a time when you have to change."
The former KKR player hoped that Kings XI Punjab persist with Mujeeb Ur Rahman in their playing-XI, considering the young player's match-winning abilities.
"They should also have Mujeeb because he is a good bowler. He was not able to find his length in the last match as there was a huge gap for him after the CPL. And this can happen with everyone, however big a match-winner they might be."
Chopra opined that apart from retaining Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Kings XI Punjab should definitely play Gayle although the West Indian's inclusion might require changes in the team's batting order.
"So Kings XI Punjab should continue with Mujeeb and definitely play Chris Gayle now, but where he would bat will be a problem. Will Mayank Agarwal bat at No. 3 which is not his ideal position?"
Aakash Chopra pointed out that while Kolkata Knight Riders are not required to make any changes, they may consider including Kuldeep Yadav instead of going in with the same XI.
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"KKR do not need to make any changes. They will think about Kuldeep and then decide not to play him."
He also suggested that KKR should not be sending Sunil Narine as a batsman in the middle overs ahead of Eoin Morgan, Dinesh Karthik or Andre Russell.
"In the batting order, they should not use Sunil Narine as a floater. He should be kept for the end or if they lose a wicket in the first couple of overs; he can be sent to hit in the Powerplay but if the Powerplay is over, then Morgan, Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell should come (ahead of Narine)."
Aakash Chopra on the probable game-changer in the clash between Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders
Aakash Chopra picked Andre Russell as the likely game-changer in the clash between Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab, pointing out that the big West Indian could come into his own against the slightly weak bowling attack of Kings XI.
"Andre Russell could prove to be the game-changer in this match. He has been slightly underwhelming thus far. The real Andre Russell has not yet been seen. If you see the Kings XI Punjab bowling, they are a little weak, and in such a case Andre Russell should regain his form and show his importance (in the team)."
The former India opener also said that as the Jamaican has been shouldering the responsibility of bowling the death overs for KKR, he is likely to come good in the game against Kings XI as well.
"He is also bowling the death overs very well, so he is playing a dual role, and I feel he will contribute in this game."
Aakash Chopra signed off by picking Kolkata Knight Riders as the probable winner in their clash against Kings XI Punjab as he thinks that the two-time IPL winners are the better outfit.
"Better team is Kolkata, and I will go with the better team."
A win for Kolkata Knight Riders in today's afternoon game will help them join the Mumbai Indians as one of two teams with eight points apiece in their kitty. In that case, KKR would only be trailing table-toppers Delhi Capitals who have garnered ten points thus far.
Kings XI Punjab, on the other hand, would be desperate for a victory to keep alive their slender hopes of making it to the playoffs in IPL 2020.
Published 10 Oct 2020, 12:24 IST