IPL-8, Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals, 3rd Match Preview

A fresh start and another chance to get it right for Punjab and Rajasthan in IPL. Two teams, with a history of attracting most number of neutral supporters, have had success elude them for a long time. While Rajasthan have tapered off somewhat after winning the inaugral edition of Indian Premier League, Kings XI have been given a new lease of life under the George Bailey-Sanjay Bangar regime and are on their way up. Unlike some of the other teams in the competition, both KXIP and RR have settled on a core group of players on whom the fortunes of the team depend and therefore played a largely subdued role in the pre-season auction. The fact that Punjab play their home game in Pune, instead of Mohali, is likely to offset any advantage they may have had going into their opening encounter.Venue: Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune

Date: April 10, 2015

Time: 20:00 IST

Weather: Clear skies have been forecast with 68% humidity.

Kings XI Punjab

KXIP have arguably the most explosive batting order in the tournament. In Virender Sehwag, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, they have three proven match-winners with an ability to change the game on its head, especially in the T20 format. Murali Vijay’s signing adds meat to the top-order. The Test-match regular will look to put in some solid performances and get back in the reckoning for a spot in the limited overs national side as well. Manan Vohra and Wriddhiman Saha, who shared an excellent partnership, in the IPL final in 2014 complete the formidable batting line up. The Mitchell Johnson-led bowling attack creates a fine balance for the team. While emerging player of IPL 7,Axar Patel, is a shoo-in as the leading spinner, the KXIP management face their biggest selection quandary in selecting their Indian medium pacers. Shardul Thakur, Parvinder Awana and Sandeep Sharma will fight for the remaining two places in the side.

Probable XI: Virender Sehwag, Murali Vijay, Manan Vohra, Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey (c), David Miller, Wriddhiman Saha(wk), Mitchell Johnson, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Sandeep Sharma/Parvinder Awana

Rajasthan Royals

Much like their opponents, Rajasthan Royals sport a fairly settled look about them. While Ajinkya Rahane’s stocks as an international cricketer has grown by leaps and bounds since the last tournament, the team’s performances will largely depend on how the troika of Shane Watson, Steve Smith and James Faulkner fare. Much hinges on where skipper Watson chooses to bat. Will the presence of an in-form Steve Smith in the middle-order force Watson to take his place at the top of the order? RR will also hope that promising keeper-batsman Sanju Samson, who had a breakthrough season in 2013 before fading away slightly last year, has a solid season. Kiwi pacer Tim Southeewill lead a bowling attack that’ll once again be dominated by medium-paced all-rounders – Faulkner,Stuart Binny and Watson. The 43-year young Pravin Tambe should once again take over lead-spinning duties.

Probable XI: Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Shane Watson(c), Steve Smith, Sanju Samson(wk), James Faulkner, Stuart Binny, Abhishek Nayar/Rajat Bhatia, Dhawal Kulkarni, Tim Southee, Pravin Tambe

Rajasthan Royals (From): Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Shane Watson(c), Sanju Samson(w),Steven Smith, Stuart Binny, James Faulkner, Rajat Bhatia, Tim Southee, Dhawal Kulkarni, Pravin Tambe, Abhishek Nayar, Ben Cutting, Deepak Hooda, Dishant Yagnik, Vikramjeet Malik, Ankit Sharma, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Dinesh Salunkhe, RustyTheron, Pardeep Sahu, Brainder Sran, Sagar Trivedi
Kings XI Punjab (From): Manan Vohra, Virender Sehwag, Wriddhiman Saha(w), Glenn Maxwell,David Miller, George Bailey(c), Axar Patel, Thisara Perera, Parvinder Awana, Sandeep Sharma,Murali Vijay, Mitchell Johnson, Rishi Dhawan, Anureet Singh, Beuran Hendricks, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Karanveer Singh, Shardul Thakur, Shaun Marsh, Shivam Sharma, Nikhil Naik, Yogesh Golwalkar

Source : Cricbuzz

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