With the third match of IPL 8 to take place between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals at Pune today it promises to be another exciting battle on the cards.
Here we look at probable XIs of both teams with man to man analysis.
Kings XI Punjab
Virender Sehwag, Murali Vijay, Wriddhman Saha, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Geroge Bailey(C), Axar Patel, Mitchell Johnson, Sandeep Sharma, Parvinder Awana, Karanveer Singh
Ajyinka Rahane, Karun Nair, Sanju Samson, Steve Smith, Shane Watson(C), Stuart Binny, Rajat Bhatia, James Faulkner, Tim Southee, Pravin Tambe, Dhawal Kulkarni.
The first interesting battle to look out for in this match will be Geroge Bailey and Shane Watson. Bailey captained the Kings XI Punjab last year and did a great job whereas Shane Watson will be captaining for the second season in a row, but does not have a great captaincy record. This battle evens out because of both of them are Australian players and know each other very well.
2. Virender Sehwag v Ajyinka Rahane
Virender Sehwag and Ajyinka Rahane can provide their teams a solid start so that the middle order can build upon. Virender Sehwag is an explosive opener who can destroy any bowling attack whereas Ajyinka Rahane has become a mature player and Rajasthan Royals will depend upon him to provide a solid start. Sehwag wins this battle because of his attacking style.
3. Murali Vijay v Karun Nair
Murali Vijay is India’s most technically sound batsman with a proven track record, if you leave out seventh season, in IPL. He played last year for Delhi Daredevils, but as Delhi shedding their dead wieght he moved to Punjab. Now with Sehwag as his partner he can give the team a quick fire start whereas Karun Nair also had played for Rajasthan Royals and plays some fine strokes. In this battle Vijay should win because of experience.
4. Wriddhman Saha v Sanju Samson
Wriddhman Saha is a brilliant wicketkeeper for Kings XI Punjab who played an excellent knock of hundred in the final of previous edition but Kings XI Punjab did not win whereas Sanju Samson was announced the emerging player in 2013 and has played in under 19 squad, also for India A . This battle Saha has his nose ahead becuase of better form in domestic cricket.
5. Glenn Maxwell v Steve Smith
Glenn Maxwell is an explosive batsman who comes and just changes the momentum of the match with his power hitting. In the World Cup 2015 Maxwell played some swashbuckling knocks, apart from that he is an excellent fielder too whereas Steve Smith is also an experienced player and has matured into a good player. He has been in excellent form in the past 4 months and Rajasthan Royals would be looking to him to continue his form. This battle between two Australian players evens out.
6. David Miller v Stuart Binny
David Miller is the hardest hitter of cricket ball anyone has seen. He comes in the lower order and can change course of the match with his power hitting. If the top order can provide a solid start and if the team needs him he can propel Punjab to a big total whereas Stuart Binny is a useful medium pace bowler and lower order batsmen. David Miller will win this battle hands down.
7. Axar Patel v Rajat Bhatia
Aksar Patel has played for Kings XI Punjab in the last edition and was the emerging player of the tournament. He bowls good line and length, stump to stump, forces the batsmen to play rash strokes and also is a good lower order batsman whereas Rajat Bhatia is an experienced player who plays for Delhi in Ranji Trophy. He bowls medium pace but is effective and also can contribute with the bat also. Axar Patel has an edge because of his economical bowling.
8. Mitchell Johnson v James Faulkner
Mitchell Johnson is an excellent left arm fast bowler who can rattle any batting line up on his day. His bowling has come off age and will be important to the team’s cause whereas James Faulkner is an excellent all rounder who can bat as well bowl. This battle evens out as both of them know each other very well.
9. Sandeep Sharma v Tim Southee
Sandeep Sharma is another promising young Indian fast bowler who swings the ball both ways and can pick wickets early so that there is less pressure on the other bowlers whereas Tim Southee has been in excellent form in the World Cup 2015 and helped NewZeleand reach the finals of tournament for the first time. In terms of experience Tim Southee is much better than Sandeep Sharma. Tim Southee will win this battle with miles to spare.
10. Parvinder Awana v Dhawal Kulkarni
Parvinder Awana is another promising young bowler who bowls with pace but needs to control his line and length, as for Dhawal Kulkarni; the Mumbai lad is opposite of what Parvinder Awana and has over his line and length. He posses good yorker in his armour. In this battle Dhawal is slightly ahead.
11. Karanveer Singh vs Pravin Tambe
Karanveer Singh is a promising leg spinner who played for Punjab in 2014 edition. He bowls well and creates pressure on the batsmen, does not allow hitting big strokes while Pravin Tambe aged 40 played for Rajasthan Royals last year and bowled expectionally well picking up crucial wickets and controlling the run flow. This battle evens out because of both the way they bowled in the previous season.
Match Prediction: With Punjab playing their home match at Pune it will be interesting to see if they can continue their good form in the first match. Too close to call, which way match goes will depend on foreign players.