IPL 2015 Kings XI Punjab: Striving to be the Kings
Team: Kings XI Punjab
Captain: George Bailey
Best Performance: Runners up in the 2014 edition
Home Ground: Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali; Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, Pune
Last year’s performance: Played 17 Won 12 Lost 5
Last year’s position: Finished at top of the points table
Overall performance: Played 106 Won 56 Lost 50
Kings XI Punjab has been the most transformed team after the team overhauls in 2014 season. With the rephrased squad in 2014 they were the team to beat in the seventh installment of Indian Premier League.
In the first leg of the tournament held at United Arab Emirates (UAE) they were unbeaten winning five out of five they played in the desert nation. The kind of cricket they played took everyone by surprise. The aggressive approach worked in the favor of the team as they beat Chennai Super Kings thrice in the 2014 edition.
Having players like Glenn Maxwell, Virendra Sehwag, David Miller, George Bailey and Mitchell Johnson in their line up helped them continue the kind of cricket they wanted to play. However, it was Glenn Maxwell who set the tone for the Punjabis early in the tournament by scoring 95(43), 89(45) and 95(43) in the first three matches against CSK, RR and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively.
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As we went deep into the tournament there was a realization that Kings XI Punjab was more than just Glenn Maxwell as lesser known players like Sandeep Sharma (three Man Of the Match), Akshar Patel and Manan Vohra came to the fore. On the back of his performance in the IPL for Kings XI Punjab, Axar Patel won his maiden call for the ODIs.
Bowling, which was apparently Achilles heel for them, turned out to be a great asset for them. Despite a low key tournament for their spearhead Mitchell Johnson they managed to perform exceptionally with the ball. However, in the final stages of the tournament they felt the need of a quality fast bowler as they were below par with the ball.
Squad for IPL 2015
They have the most settled line up of the tournament and there was no reason to bring in any major changes in the squad for this edition. However they have managed to pick some players who can contribute in the team’s results. Let us take a look at their squad for this edition.
Axar Patel, Anureet Singh, Beuran Hendricks, David Miller, George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Karanveer Singh, Manan Vora, Mitchell Johnson, Parvinder Awana, Rishi Dhawan, Sandeep Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Shaun Marsh, Shivam Sharma, Thisara Perera, Virender Sehwag, Wriddhiman Saha, Murali Vijay, Nikhil Naik, Yogesh Golwalkar
They bought just three players in the IPL 2015 auctions and their biggest buy was Murali Vijay. Having seen him with Chennai Super Kings in the past he played some valuable innings at top of the order for them. However following a meager tournament in 2013 he was released by CSK and was snapped by Delhi Daredevils in the 2014 auctions. But failing to make mark for them in the last season with 207 runs in 11 matches played at an average of 18.81 he was released in this year’s auction pool. His free flowing batting style coupled with brazen stroke play of Virendra Sehwag could bode well for Kings XI Punjab.
Shaun Marsh, who has been with the team since its inception, was unable to play in the major chunk of the tournament due to an injury is all set to bolster this already strong batting line up. However, with just four foreign players allowed in the team it will be interesting to see the three choices apart from George Bailey (captain). Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson, David Miller and Shaun Marsh are in the fray for those three spots. With bowling their weak link they might opt for Mitchell Johnson and leave select one of David Miller and Shaun Marsh.
While the batting is as good as it gets in a T20 competition their bowling looks below par and an in form Mitchell Johnson is vital for them going into the tournament. PCA stadium in Mohali being one of their home ground which has pacer assisting pitch they need fast bowlers to deliver for them.
What to expect in IPL 2015
Having played aggressively throughout the tournament in the 2014 edition of the IPL they are expected to play similar kind of cricket. Batting being their forte they will depend on them hugely in the tournament. Having said that if their lesser known bowlers Sandeep Sharma, Parvinder Awana and Rishi Dhawan provide good support to Mitchell Johnson they will be the team to beat in this edition.
Expect nothing less than a playoff from this star studded Kings XI Punjab and anything less will be a huge disappointment. However, with the kind of fire power they have playoffs look an assured place for them.
They are 5/1 to win the tournament and currently placed as third favorites. We are backing them till the end to win the tournament.