Perennial underachievers Kings XI Punjab will hope the new pair of captain KL Rahul and head coach Anil Kumble can conjure up some magic as they head into the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), having reached the playoff stages twice in the past of the cash-rich tournament. Also Read - MS Dhoni's Wife Sakshi Posts Heartfelt Poem As CSK Miss Out On IPL 2020 Playoff Spot
Rahul, who has been in red-hot form for India in white-ball cricket in the recent past, was appointed as skipper ahead of the season with former India captain and legendary off-spinner Kumble pencilled in as head coach. The ‘underachiever tag’ have often been associated with the Punjab-based franchise as they have made it to the playoff stages twice in 2008 and 2014 in the 12-year history of IPL. KXIP will play kick-off their IPL 2020 campaign against Delhi Capitals on September 20 at the Dubai International Stadium, Dubai. Also Read - IPL 2020 Points Table Latest Update After RR vs MI, Match 45: Rajasthan Royals Beat Mumbai Indians to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive, CSK Eliminated; Virat Kohli Zooms to 3rd Spot in Orange Cap Tally
KXIP Captain: KL Rahul
Handed over the captaincy duties for the 13th season of IPL – all eyes will be on Rahul during the T20 slugfest which gets kicked off of September 19 in Abu Dhabi. The 28-year-old his coming into the tournament after two back-to-back stellar seasons as an opener for KXIP. In 2018 IPL, Rahul scored 659 runs in 14 matches for the KXIP, and followed it up in 2019 with 593 runs in 14 matches. Also Read - IPL 2020, KKR vs KXIP in Sharjah: Predicted Playing XIs, Pitch Report, Toss Timing, Squads, Sharjah Weather Forecast For Match 46
KXIP Coach: Anil Kumble
The inclusion of former India captain Anil Kumble as the head coach of Kings XI Punjab will also be extremely critical for the fortunes of the franchise in the upcoming season. In the past, Kumble had the experience of coaching Indian cricket team and helped them in achieving great success at the top level. Fondly called as Jumbo – the legendary spinner is known to be a master tactician and a strict taskmaster. He is also the Director of Cricket Operations at the franchise and has former Zimbabwe cricketer Andy Flower as his deputy. India’s domestic heavyweight Wasim Jaffer is the batting coach of the Punjab, while former South African cricketers Charl Langeveldt and Jonty Rhodes are the bowling and fielding coaches, respectively.
Kings XI Punjab Full Squad
KL Rahul (C/wk) Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Sheldon Cottrell, Ishan Porel, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Arshdeep Singh, Hardus Viljoen, M Ashwin, J Suchith, Harpreet Brar, Darshan Nalkande, Glenn Maxwell, James Neesham, Chris Jordan, Krishnappa Gowtham, Deepak Hooda, Tajinder Singh Dhillon, Nicholas Pooran (wicketkeeper), Prabhsimran Singh (wicketkeeper).
KXIP Support staff: Anil Kumble (head coach), Andy Flower (assistant coach), Wasim Jaffer (batting coach), Jonty Rhodes (fielding coach), Charl Langeveldt (bowling coach), Andrew Leipus (physiotherapist), Adrian Le Roux (strength and conditioning coach).
IPL Past Record
2008 – Semi-finalists
2009 – 5th spot
2010 – 8th spot
2011 – 5th spot
2012 – 6th spot
2013 – 6th spot
2014 – Runners-up (Lost to KKR in final)
2015 – 8th spot
2016 – 8th spot
2017 – 5th spot
2018 – 7th spot
2019 – 6th spot
IPL 2019 Performance
Despite splendid individual performances by KL Rahul (593 runs) and pacer Mohammed Shami (19 wickets) – Kings XI Punjab finished at the sixth spot out of eight teams in the 2019 edition of IPL. Out of the 14 matches they played in the league stages, KXIP won six and suffered six defeats.
KXIP’s New Additions
During the IPL Player Auction for 2020 edition, KXIP team management made some top purchases to add some depth in their star-studded squad. The return of Australian superstar Glenn Maxwell and the addition of West Indian pacer Sheldon Cottrell and English T20 specialist – Chris Jordan are likely to make the difference for Punjab in the upcoming season. There will be high hopes from young leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi, who impressed everyone during the 2020 U-19 World Cup.
KXIP Key Players
Glenn Maxwell: Returning back to the fold from where it all started, Maxwell will be the one to watch out for Punjab in IPL 2020. The 31-year-old all-rounder is in red-hot form and coming to the T20 extravaganza after winning the ‘Player of the Series’ award during the recently-concluded England vs Australia ODIs. He hammered 186 runs in three matches at an impressive average of 62.00 and strike-rate of 118.47. Maxwell will also take heart from the fact he had a memorable run for KXIP the last time the tournament was played in the UAE, albeit partially. In that edition in 2014, the Australian scored 552 runs in 16 games, helping the team reach its sole final till date.
Chris Gayle: Unarguably, the best and the most destructive batsman in the history of T20 cricket – Chris Gayle will once again be the man to watch out for in IPL. With 4484 runs under his belt in 125 matches, ‘Universe Boss’ Gayle will again don the opener’s hat for KXIP and form one of the most dangerous top-order pairings with skipper Rahul in the league. Despite age and slower reflexes, Gayle can still single-handedly demolish best of the bowling attacks and will be looking to win a few games for KXIP.
IPL 2020 Prediction
Kings XI management have invested well in their squad during the player auction on December last year. They possess a number of match-winners in their ranks who can win them games single-handedly but their chances of reaching the playoffs will depend largely on their younger players who need to raise the bar and perform consistently at the bigger stage. KXIP pulling off a few upsets and reaching the playoffs – keep your fingers crossed!
KXIP Predicted Playing XI
KL Rahul (C/wk), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Glenn Maxwell/Nicholas Pooran, Sarfraz Khan/Karun Nair, Mandeep Singh, Chris Jordan, K Gowtham, Mohammed Shami, Sheldon Cottrell/Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Ravi Bishnoi.