Both the teams which have struggled to win an IPL trophy so far square off against each other tomorrow. Kings XI Punjab will be playing the first match at their home-ground and they will be taking on another northern Indian team – Delhi Daredevils. Interestingly both the teams are going in with fresh captains and a lot many changes in the team from the last season.
Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab has the combination of Virender Sehwag and Ravi Ashwin at the helm this season. The Fire and Ice together have to ensure that their strategic plans hit the target. Ashwin’s cricketing sense will be put to the test severely from the first match itself.
The notable exception will be Aaron Finch who will miss out on first few games. They have three strong batsmen in Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, and KL Rahul. Rahul will be taking up the gloves as well in absence of a full-time wicketkeeper. Yuvraj will handle the middle order of Punjab.
Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and David Miller will be the power-hitters that Punjab has for blasting off in the death overs. Ashwin and Axar Patel will make up the spin department. Australian death bowler Andrew Tye will spearhead the bowling for Punjab. Here’s how the probable XI shapes up
Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Karun Nair/Chris Gayle (O), Yuvraj Singh, David Miller (O), Marcus Stoinis (O), Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Andrew Tye (O), Ankit Rajpoot, Mohit Sharma/Barinder Sran
The revamped Delhi team will be eager to start on the winning note under the captaincy of the returning home-boy Gautam Gambhir. The Delhi unit is tightly packed and real problem that they have is the problem of plenty. They have broad backup base this year to pick from and then there can be plenty of variations according to the pitch conditions.
Captain Gautam Gambhir is likely to open for the team. It is the position where he is most effective and will secure one end with a regular flow of runs. The probable opening partner of Gambhir is Colin Munro. Jason Roy may also get to play at some stage or the other.
Youngsters Iyer and Pant will have a go in the middle order. Maxwell-Shankar-Morris will have the duty of forcing the run-rate uphill in the death overs. IPL Stalwart Amit Mishra and the miser Shahbaz Nadeem shall ensure the turning ball.
With Rabada’s omission due to injury, Boult is likely to spearhead the fast bowling attack if Delhi alongside Mohammad Shami. In swinging conditions, the duo will be lethal. The probable XI for DD is
Gautam Gambhir, Colin Munro(O), Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Glenn Maxwell(O), Vijay Shankar, Chris Morris(O), Amit Mishra, Shahbaz Nadeem, Trent Boult(O), Mohammad Shami.