Kings XI Punjab team in IPL 2016 Preview: David Miller-led Kings aim to succeed to IPL 9 throne


King XI Punjab (KXIP) have been one of the most heartening aspects of Indian Premier League (IPL), with the kind of stellar performances they have showcased over the years. KXIP have appointed South Africa’s most belligerent batsman David Miller as their captain. This is his first stint as a captain in any format. Considering the brand of cricket the southpaw pursues, he will leave no stone unturned to mount pressure on the opposition. King XI Punjab have reached the final only once, that is, in 2014 under George Bailey’s captaincy. Thus, KXIP will aim to gain a foothold in the ultimate match of IPL 9.

KXIP will be coached by current Team India batting coach Sanjay Bangar. The KXIP players will make full use of his expertise and provide impetus early on in the tournament. However, along with Miller, KXIP boast of foreign players such as Kyle Abott, Farhaan Behardien, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, and Marcus Stoinis. Given the teams are allowed to feature only four foreign players, the KXIP owners smartly invested money in order to draft ‘variety’ of attack in the team.

As a matter of fact, Marsh is the only foreign player to play for the same franchisee since the first season of IPL. He has benefited a lot from this cash-rich league, as it earned him a place in his national team as well. He has scored 2,054 runs at an outrageously astonishing average of 41.91 and strike-rate of 133.5. He will play a crucial role for KXIP to provide a blistering start in the batting Powerplay.

Popularly known as Killer Miller, KXIP captain has been leading the resurgence over the years. Nonetheless, his recent performance in ICC World T20 2016 is a spot of bother. But his IPL statistics might give him some confidence. He has smashed 1,319 runs which is better than his senior southpaw Marsh. However, it will be even more interesting to see how the South Africa’s emerging player leads his troops.

Another potent threat to the opposition is the former Australian ace pacer Johnson. The Midge of Australian cricket has put on a commanding show in the previous editions of IPL and his team would be hoping to come up with a similar striking performance this summer.

Player of IPL 7, Maxwell, will be another player to watch out for. He has the second best strike-rate since IPL 5 and will hold a key in the middle overs to scale up the run-rate.

KXIP will miss services of former India opener Virender Sehwag at the top of the order. However, they have India’s Test talisman Mural Vijay and young gun Manan Vohra at their disposal to provide a devastating start.

Along with Johnson, KXIP have number of fast bowlers in their ranks: Abott, Anureet Singh, Rishi Dhawan and Sandeep Sharma. As KXIP’s home ground Mohali offers pace and bounce, these pacers will have a good time if they bowl disciplined line and length.

While Wriddhiman Saha will keep wickets, Behardien will be handy with his bowling abilities. All in all, KXIP have blistering team composition that gives them an edge over other teams.

Squad: David Miller (C), Kyle Abbott, Anureet Singh, Armaan Jaffer, Farhaan Behardien, KC Cariappa, Rishi Dhawan, Gurkeerat Mann Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Nikhil Naik, Axar Patel, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Pardeep Sahu, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Marcus Stoinis, Swapnil Singh, Shardul Thakur, Murali Vijay, Manan Vohra

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