The moment you are ready to quit is usually the moment right before a miracle happens. And Kings XI Punjab really need a miracle to get them through to playoffs. They need to win at least three out of four games to stay in contention for playoffs. And they have the perfect opportunity against the injury hit Gujarat Lions. Their next three games are against the table toppers – Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants. A win here would mean that they are just one short of Sunrisers Hyderabad tally of 13 points. They are coming off a victory against RCB where their bowlers stepped up to defend a below par score. Preview and Match Result Prediction for Kings XI Punjab vs Gujarat Lions.
Gujarat Lions are out of the contention in this season. The injuries to the key players like Dwayne Bravo and Andrew Tye has hit them badly. Now Brendon McCullum is out of the remainder of IPL due to a hamstring strain. This leaves Lions with only four overseas players: Dwayne Smith, Aaron Finch, James Faulkner and the UAE batsman Chirag Suri. Their campaign has been in disarray from the start as their batting and bowling hasn’t clicked together. Now Suresh Raina and his team would be looking to avoid the wooden spoon and earn some pride before bowing out.
The pitch at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali affords good pace and bounce. The pacers would get some movement off the pitch. And batsman would relish the ball rushing towards the bat.
KINGS XI PUNJAB – STRENGTHS
The bowling attack of Punjab has really taken off led by the young Sandeep Sharma. He has been phenomenal with the new ball. In the last game, he broke the backbone of RCB batting by accounting for the Big Three – Gayle, Kohli and deVilliers. Mohit Sharma has made good use of those slower ones and especially the innocuous knuckle ball.
The hero of their previous match, Axar Patel has done most damage to the opposition with his spin as well as clean hitting at death. Glenn Maxwell has contributed with the ball fairly.
KINGS XI PUNJAB – WEAKNESSES
The indifferent form of Glenn Maxwell with the bat is a big concern. Manan Vohra seems to have lost touch. And Wriddhiman Saha has been a disaster with the bat. The middle order hasn’t contributed much. In the bowling department, the fifth bowler dilemma can still haunt them against a good batting attack.
GUJARAT LIONS – STRENGTHS
The vintage Suresh Raina is in rich form. And the consistent Dinesh Karthik has proved his utility in the middle order. Their fielding has been the best among all teams this season. Basil Thampi has shown promise with the new ball as well as at death.
GUJARAT LIONS – WEAKNESSES
The bowling has always been their weak point. And after Andrew Tye was ruled out due to injury, Gujarat has failed to recover. All their bowlers have looked clueless. Brendon McCullum’s injury means that there batting is also under pressure now. Dwayne Smith has failed miserably. Aaron Finch hasn’t contributed much. Ravindra Jadeja and James Faulkner poor form with both bat and ball still remains a concern.
KXIP – Kings XI Punjab are coming off two successive wins. They shouldn’t tinker with the winning combination. Hashim Amla and David Miller could leave the IPL after Sunday’s game, to join their South Africa team-mates.
Hashim Amla, Martin Guptill, Shaun Marsh, Manan Vohra, Glenn Maxwell (capt), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Axar Patel, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma, Varun Aaron, T. Natarajan
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GL – Brendon Mc Cullum is out of the tournament. This means either Chirag Suri, the UAE player or Akshdeep Nath would get a game here. Irfan Pathan or Praveen Kumar could be brought in to lend some experience in the bowling attack.
Dwayne Smith, Aaron Finch, Suresh Raina (capt), Ishan Kishan, Chirag Suri, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Pradeep Sangwan, Basil Thampi, Ankit Soni
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Played – 3, KXIP – 2, GL – 1.
Earlier this season at Gujarat Lions home, Kings XI Punjab pulled off their first away win riding on Hashim Amla’s half century and Axar Patel’s all round efforts.
With a spot in playoffs on the line for Kings XI and Gujarat Lions looking to salvage some pride, Mohali is going to witness a hard fought encounter. Here’s what we predict.
If KXIP bats first
1st Innings Score: 160 – 170
GL wins by 5 wickets
If GL bats first
1st Innings Score: 150 – 160
KXIP wins by 6 wickets.