The two bottom-placed teams from last season—Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), in seventh and eighth place, respectively—face off at the Holkar Stadium in Indore, in the fourth match of IPL 2017. Both these teams have new captains and their team managements will hope that this change in leadership brings about a change in their team’s fortune.
KXIP and RPS are two of the three underdogs—Delhi Daredevils are the other—of this IPL season. And when two teams of equal stature go up against each other, the fans are usually in for a treat. So, I have no doubt in my mind that on Saturday evening, you will witness a great contest from Indore, the new home of Kings XI.
The playing XI for these two teams will as always hold the key.
The Probable Playing XI: Kings XI (KXIP) vs Pune Supergiant (RPS), April 8 (4pm)
Tomorrow’s hosts retained their core players from last year ahead of the IPL 2017 auction, in which they added Eoin Morgan, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Darren Sammy, Tamilnadu’s Thangarasu Natarajan, Rinku Singh, Varun Aaron, and Rahul Tewatia to their squad.
Unfortunately for Kings XI, Murali Vijay, who captained them in a few matches of IPL 2016, is out of this season with a shoulder injury which has been troubling him for quite some time now.
We must wait and see if Vijay’s absence has an adverse effect on KXIP, who do not possess another Indian batsman, quite astonishingly, of the quality of India’s Test opener. As a result, Kings XI will depend heavily on their overseas batsmen like David Miller, Shaun Marsh, captain Maxwell himself, and over the course of this campaign, even the likes of Eoin Morgan, Hashim Amla and Marcus Stoinis.
Ishant Sharma has replaced the injured Vijay and will bolster Kings XI’s bowling, which is chock-a-block with Indian bowlers except for New Zealand’s Matt Henry.
Taking all aspects of the KXIP IPL 2017 squad into account, here’s what I believe will be their playing XI for the campaign opener against a buoyant RPS: 1. Glenn Maxwell*, 2. Shaun Marsh, 3. Manan Vohra, 4. Wriddhiman Saha, 5. David Miller, 6. Gurkeerat Singh Mann, 7. Axar Patel, 8. Sandeep Sharma, 9. Thangarasu Natarajan, 10. Matt Henry, and 11. KC Cariappa
Actual playing XI for Kings XI: 1. Glenn Maxwell (c), 2. Manan Vohra, 3. Hashim Amla, 4. David Miller, 5. Marcus Stoinis, 6. Wriddhiman Saha, 7. Axar Patel, 8. Swapnil Singh, 9. Sandeep Sharma, 10. Mohit Sharma, and 11. Thangarasu Natarajan
Steve Smith led from the front for Pune Supergiant on Thursday night against the Mumbai Indians and helped his team register a massive, seven-wicket win. This, after Ajinkya Rahane had set up the chase beautifully at the top of the order, with a 34-ball 60.
While the batting line-up looks fairly settled and is in good hands, even without the seasoned Faf du Plessis, RPS’s bowling is a cause for concern. Ashok Dinda conceded 30 runs off the final over of the MI innings and might well have cost Pune the match, while Deepak Chahar flattered to deceive too. Rajat Bhatia and Imran Tahir were the bright spots in an otherwise ordinary bowling display from RPS.
But, having won their season opener and with their second match being played less than 48 hours after, I do not think RPS will want to make wholesale changes. So, I expect them to field the same playing XI against KXIP: 1. Steve Smith, 2. Ajinkya Rahane, 3. Mayank Agarwal, 4. MS Dhoni, 5. Ben Stokes, 6. Manoj Tiwary, 7. Rajat Bhatia, 8. Deepak Chahar, 9. Adam Zampa, 10. Imran Tahir, and 11. Ashok Dinda
Actual playing XI for RPS: 1. Steve Smith, 2. Ajinkya Rahane, 3. Mayank Agarwal, 4. MS Dhoni, 5. Ben Stokes, 6. Manoj Tiwary, 7. Rajat Bhatia, 8. Rahul Chahar, 9. Daniel Christian, 10. Imran Tahir, and 11. Ashok Dinda