Kings XI Punjab haven’t been the most consistent IPL team over the past ten seasons, but this year has been a great start for the men in red and silver, beginning at the auction where they bought smartly with a new captain at the helm. Their opponents for Thursday night, Sunrisers Hyderabad have had an even better start to the season with three victories in as many games. SRH look favourites to go all the way this season given the depth in their squad and their ability to defend almost any target.
Kings XI Punjab:
Big scores and even bigger scores – that’s what KXIP can build their season around in IPL 2018. With the form that KL Rahul, Karun Nair and Chris Gayle are in, they’ve certainly got the ability to post scores or chase targets of over 200 in every game. The top order dominated by the Indian core of Rahul, Agarwal and Nair is the key for this team and will continue to be the element that makes all the difference for them this season. The bowling attack boasts of Ashwin, Mujeeb, Tye and Mohit Sharma but they all have been inconsistent in the first three games. If the bowling can fix itself and manage to do the job, that would then put KXIP in a very formidable position.
Recent Form: W L W
Probable XI: Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (WK), Karun Nair, Aaron Finch, Yuvraj Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin (C), Andrew Tye, Mohit Sharma, Barinder Sran, Mujeeb ur Rahman
Key Fantasy Picks: Purely on form, KL Rahul and Karun Nair would be the two most important picks from KXIP in your fantasy teams. I would also go on and pick Mujeeb ur Rahman in my side given that he can pose serious problems for SRH’s batting.
Certainly the team to beat this IPL, Sunrisers Hyderabad are on a high after 3 consecutive victories in as many games. The key to this start has been their bowling attack which has unquestionably been the best in the tournament. Whether it be the pacers in Bhuvi, Stanlake and Sandeep Sharma or the spinners in Shakib and Rashid, SRH have been on top of their game. It might be the time for them to assess where they can sharpen their game a bit further and that will be the middle order. Manish Pandey hasn’t come to the fore yet and neither Yusuf nor Shakib have really had much time in the middle – a potential weakness that KXIP could look to expose. If the top three can fire again, SRH might just leave Mohali with 4 wins in the bag.
Recent Form: W W W
Probable XI: Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson (C), Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Billy Stanlake, Sandeep Sharma, Rashid Khan
Key Fantasy Picks: Rashid Khan certainly will be a handful to deal with for the KXIP top order and the SRH skipper might just use him in the power play given the 3 right handed batsmen in KXIP’s top 4. Wriddhiman Saha is a good player of spin as well as pace and could be vital at the top of the order for SRH.