CLT20 bite-size preview: Kings XI Punjab
The Kings XI Punjab come into the tournament as IPL runners-up, and this is their first time at this event. They were formidable in the IPL, and will be very tough to beat here too.
<b>Brief Overview:</b> The Kings XI Punjab come into the tournament as IPL runners-up, and this is their first time at this event. They were formidable in the IPL, and will be very tough to beat here too, if their international stars lead the home players down the right path again. They are being skippered by an experience leader in George Bailey as well.
<b>Key Strength:</b> The KXIP middle order is just spine-tingling on paper. It's a collection of some of the best hitters in world cricket, with Glenn Maxwell and David Miller forming a superb pairing in the IPL. Bailey was a brilliant back-up if those two faltered, while Thisara Perera's all-round skills can win a game. Expect big scores if this lot fires.
<b>Probable Weakness:</b> Their bowling attack, aside from Mitchell Johnson, isn't star-studded, especially when it comes to spin. To be fair, Johnson is a huge influence, and Lakshmi Balaji has done superbly in the past, but once their overs are up, it's often left up to the batsmen to save the day, either by chasing or setting massive scores. They're without Sandeep Singh, their best bowler in this year's IPL, due to injury.
<b>Batsman To Watch:</b> Glenn Maxwell, for sure. The Aussie started the IPL in blazing fashion, only to drop off a bit at the end after he was rested, but he's been playing in England recently and also scored a 93 for the Aussies in Harare. He also adds value with his off-spin, and sharp fielding.
<b>Bowler To Watch:</b> You'd think Mitchell Johnson, but it's actually Thisara Perera. If he plays as often as he should, he could be key because he's been bagging wickets left and right recently for Sri Lanka. In the ODI series against Pakistan he took nine wickets in three games, and scored two fifties.
<b>Squad:</b> George Bailey (captain), Thisara Perera, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Akshar Patel, Karanveer Singh, L Balaji, Manan Vohra, Mandeep Singh, Rishi Dhawan, Virender Sehwag, Wriddhiman Saha, Anureet Singh, Parvinder Awana.
<b>Toughest Fixture:</b> The Cape Cobras, on 28 September, should prove staunch opposition. The South Africans are their domestic champions and boast some big names, and if KXIP aren't already through to the next round, this could prove a stumbling block.
<b>They Said:</b> Skipper George Bailey after giving up the Oz T20 captaincy: "My passion and commitment to T20 cricket remains strong and I look forward to continuing my T20 roles with the Hobart Hurricanes and Kings XI Punjab."
<b>Cricket365's Prediction:</b> Champions.
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