Chris Gayle’s inclusion in the playing XI of the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) has ‘completely’ changed the team according to England’s spinner Graeme Swann as KXIP have won 5 games on a trot after his inclusion.
Chris Gayle missed the franchise’s initial games in this season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The team witnessed a poor start, but now the side has made a stunning comeback, and they are on a five-match winning streak.
Chris Gayle’s Inclusion Makes Kings XI Punjab A Different Unit – Graeme Swann
KXIP were struggling at the bottom of the points table after winning 1 and losing 6 games in their first 7 matches. But five consecutive victories mean they are 4th with 12 points ahead of KKR, SRH, RR and CSK.
KXIP who are looking dangerous with the addition of Chris Gayle who wasn’t selected as openers Mayank Agarwal and skipper KL Rahul were in ominous form. Still, the team management decided to include Chris Gayle at No. 3 as the batting line-up is looking dangerous with strong openers and middle-order batsmen.
Kings XI Punjab who were struggling in the initial matches with lacklustre batting from middle order as Glenn Maxwell, Mandeep Singh, Karun Nair and Sarfaraz Khan failed to convert starts into big scores were bolstered by the addition of Chris Gayle which seemed to lift their spirit and confidence.
“Well Kings XI are a strong team, there is no doubt about that. Since Chris Gayle has come into the fold, they look like a completely different outfit,” Swann said on Star Sports show Game Plan.
KXIP are now preparing to take on Rajasthan Royals, and Graeme Swann believes that the Steve Smith-led side should believe in their overseas players like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer to fire against strong KXIP. Steve Smith being not in form, is a cause of concern.
“Rajasthan Royal have to believe in their overseas players because they have got some real talent, possibly the four most talented overseas players in Butler, Stokes, Smith, and Archer and they have to go out there and play fearless cricket. At the end of the day, if those guys don’t win it, (Rahul) Tewatia will,” he said.
Rajasthan Royals will take heart from the fact that they beat KXIP in the previous encounter in IPL 2020 when KXIP failed to defend 223 with Mayank Agarwal scoring century. But Sanju Samson’s 85 and Rahul Tewatia’s brisk 53 including 7 sixes saw Rajasthan cross the hurdle and win by 4 wickets.
Chris Gayle Just Blows Away Opposition If He Gets Going – Aakash Chopra
Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra is also of the same opinion that KXIP’s fortunes have changed after the entry of Chris Gayle in the playing XI and game plan should be made to stop the big-hitting batsman from going on a boundary hitting spree.
“Kings XI Punjab’s fortunes in this tournament have completely changed since the arrival of Christopher Henry Gayle. They haven’t really lost a game since he’s been there, so now Rajasthan Royals, they need to win and for that to happen.
“They will have to figure out a game plan to stop Gayle and say, and not just one, they might need a couple of them because when he gets going, of course, he’s a tornado, who just blows away the opposition,” Chopra said.
Rajasthan Royals have two games left which will decide the teams going into the playoffs apart from Mumbai Indians who have already qualified. Kings XI Punjab plays against them on 30th October and Kolkata Knight Riders will go all out for a must-win match against Rajasthan on 1st November.