Kings XI Punjab will join the VIVO IPL 2017 bandwagon when they take on Rising Pune Supergiant in Match 4.
Kings XI Punjab, wooden spoon holders last season, have revamped their set up heading into this season; Glenn Maxwell was handed the team’s captaincy, and the franchise roped in Virender Sehwag in the capacity of mentor and J Arunkumar as coach. The franchise will miss the services of the Indian opener Murali Vijay, but have several quality international options to choose from; one of Martin Guptill, Hashim Amla or Shaun Marsh could accompany Manan Vohra at the top of the order. It remains to be seen which three overseas players KXIP pick; they bought Eoin Morgan in the player auction prior to the season, and have another quality option available in David Miller.
Rising Pune Supergiant began the season with a convincing win; on Thursday night, they defeated the Mumbai Indians by seven wickets. RPS dominated the contest for most parts; barring Ashok Dinda’s final over which cost them 30 runs, RPS were very disciplined with both bat and ball.
08 April 2017, 1600 Hrs IST
Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore (Home venue of KXIP)
Glenn Maxwell, the KXIP captain, in his pre-match press conference admitted that batting was his team’s stronger department, and therefore the onus lies on the batsmen to win more matches than the bowlers. One of Shaun Marsh or Hashim Amla will be expected to play the role of sheet anchor at the top and build a platform for the dangerous Maxwell and David Miller.
The RPS captain Steven Smith has had a sensational run of late; whatever the plans bowlers have come up with, Smith has almost always found ways to dominate the bowlers. Rahane is a purist’s delight; he will play strokes the copybook style and accumulate runs even without the opposition feeling a pinch. Both Smith and Rahane scored half-centuries in RPS’ win against MI in the season opener, and they will be expected to continue to accumulate the runs.
Head to Head
Overall: Matches played – 2, KXIP won – 1, RPSG Won – 1
Glenn Maxwell had a forgettable IPL season in 2016; he only scored 179 runs in 11 matches at an average of 19.88.
Glenn Maxwell will make his debut as captain of a team; he has 167 T20 caps against his name.
The Rising Pune Supergiant skipper Steven Smith has already scored 994 runs across formats in this calendar year. Two players have already gone past the 1000-run mark this year: New Zealand’s George Worker and India’s Dinesh Karthik.
KXIP will stay put at home for their next fixture; lined up next are Royal Challengers Bangalore who will come calling on April 10. Rising Pune Supergiant meanwhile head back home and play host to the Delhi Daredevils on April 11.