PREVIEW: On cricketbadger.com we preview each of the IPL franchise – here’s our appraisal on the chances of the George Bailey led Kings XI Punjab…
The Kings XI Punjab reached the final in 2014 thanks to the fireworks of Glenn Maxwell. They may have lost to Kolkata Knight Riders in the showpiece event, but the general feeling is they have turned the corner.
For a long time the glitz of being the Bollywood glamour-puss of the IPL seemed to lead to an inconsistency of performance. They made the confident decision to keep their purse strings fairly tight at the IPL Auction too, only moving with any force to take Murali Vijay from the Delhi Daredevils to give Virender Sehwag a big name partner at the top of the batting.
Kings XI smashed the best run-rate in the IPL in 2014. They certainly know how to entertain with the bat, they just need their bowling attack to restrict opponents to less.
It’s astonishing that skipper George Bailey was outscored and out strike rated by five of his teammates despite scoring 257 runs at a strike rate of 135.26.
Confidence will be high after last season, and three of their contingent return fresh from Australia’s success at the ICC Cricket world Cup. George Bailey, Mitchell Johnson and Glenn Maxwell will hope to continue their winning ways.
While Johnson is a world beater with the ball they will however be heavily reliant on his impact. They are a little exposed without him.
Head coach, Sanjay Bangar, is not the extrovert leading man steering some of the other franchises, yet he has quietly gone about his business and assembled a very solid side. At the end of the season, Bailey appreciated Bangar’s role by saying, “Everything you see and like about Kings XI starts with Sanjay Bangar.”
GENERAL TITTLE TATTLE
Previous record: Runners up in 2014, semi-finalists in 2008. Other than that they have never progressed beyond the group stage.
THE KEY MAN – David Miller
South African left-hander, David Miller, is capable of carnage and destruction with the willow. He can nudge it around if needed, but if he decides it’s his day and opens his shoulders there are few in the world that hit it harder or longer.
ONE TO WATCH FOR – Axar Patel
The young left-arm spinner was outstanding last season, picking up 17 wickets and conceding just over six an over. His heroics saw him progress into the Indian international side.
BEST OF THE REST
Glenn Maxwell is known as the ‘Big Show’ quite simply because he is very adept at putting in a big show. He may well be able to provide a few overs with the ball, but it’s with the bat that he can destroy opponents in a matter of overs. When he walks in to bat, you settle down and watch. In 2014 he smashed 552 runs at a strike rate of 187.75. His 53-ball 102 against Sri Lanka in the World Cup showed he has not lost the knack of steeling the headlines.
Thisara Perera is one of the most destructive all-rounders in the world. With the ball he is canny, with the bat down the order he can score quickly and win, or save, games.
Mitchell Johnson is fast, economical, takes wickets and wins games. It’s not a bad CV for your premier paceman to have. Johnson’s increasing experience assisted Sandeep and Dhawan last season – they managed to take 31 wickets as a result.
THE KINGS XI SQUAD
George Bailey (capt), Murali Vijay, Anureet Singh, Axar Patel, David Miller, Beuran Hendricks, Gurkeerat Singh Mann,Glenn Maxwell, Manan Vohra, Mitchell Johnson, Karanveer Singh, Shivam Sharma, Rishi Dhawan, Parvinder Awana, Sandeep Sharma, Shaun Marsh, Shardul Thakur, Virender Sehwag, Thisara Perera, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Nikhil Naik, Yogesh Golwalkar.
They are in our final four and once there anything can happen. They will need a couple of their bowlers to stand up and support Mitchell Johnson.
As the editor of Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author and a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications.
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