The action moves to Mohali as the Kings XI take on Delhi Daredevils. Neither team has fulfilled its potential over the years, and Mohali is a good place to start. The batting friendly wicket will suit the home side given the firepower in their ranks. Delhi, on the other hand, have a fantastic bowling attack.
Ashwin will have his task cut out for him against Gambhir. The latter has been superb tactically, rotating his bowlers and adopting an aggressive game plan in general. Can Ashwin flourish as captain or will Gambhir lead his team to victory?
Shreyas Iyer, Chris Morris, Rishabh Pant, Glenn Maxwell, Gautam Gambhir (c), Jason Roy, Colin Munro, Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra, Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Daniel Christian, Jayant Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Trent Boult, Manjot Kalra, Abhishek Sharma, Sandeep Lamichhane, Naman Ojha, Sayan Ghosh.
Kings XI Punjab
Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, Lokesh Rahul, Chris Gayle, David Miller, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Rajpoot, Manoj Tiwary, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Barinder Sran, Andrew Tye, Akshdeep Nath, Ben Dwarshuis, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar, Manzoor Dar.
Where the teams Stand
Delhi have assembled a great bowling attack, typical of Gambhir and the teams he captains. Trent Boult, Chris Morris, Mohammed Shami, and Amit Mishra form a solid attack that is potentially the best in the tournament. If only Rabada was part of it too. Besides Mishra, they also have a host of other options including Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Tewatia, and Jayant Yadav. Gambhir has all bases covered, with a good balance between left and right-hand options across spin and pace, including off and leg break spinners. It’s the same formula he used for KKR, and it worked wonders for them.
In the batting department, Gambhir has a host of options to open with him. Jason Roy, Shreyas Iyer, Colin Munro, and Prithvi Shaw can all open. Either of Munro or Roy would be the best candidate given their ineffectiveness anywhere else in the order. Iyer can easily play at three or four. They also have Rishabh Pant, Glenn Maxwell, Vijay Shankar, and Daniel Christian in their squad. The four foreigners are likely to be Munro/Roy, Boult, Morris, and Maxwell since they form the best possible quarter on first glance. Delhi will need their young Indian batsmen to perform well. The pressure on them to do so is almost too much given the unreliability of Maxwell and Munro.
Knowing Gambhir, he will want to bowl first in every single match and rightly so. His bowling attack is simply sublime while the batting is not nearly as stable as it needs to be. He has an eye for talent and a knack for utilizing the potential of his players, but he needs to prove himself all over again.
Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI have a superb batting lineup that will be the envy of every team. Chris Gayle/David Miller, Aaron Finch, KL Rahul, Yuvraj Singh, Mayank Agarwal, and Manoj Tiwary form perhaps the best batting lineup in the entire tournament. Fortunately for the fans, they are up against perhaps the best bowling attack in the tournament. Agarwal recently became the only player to score above 2000 runs in a single domestic season, finally fulfilling his potential. The first four names speak for themselves. KL Rahul was picked up for a massive 11 crore at the auction, while Gayle was picked up late after being unsold not once, but twice. Regardless, Kings XI will be very happy with their business at the auctions.
Besides these names, the Kings also have Marcus Stoinis and Andrew Tye as big names in the squad. Stoinis is a fantastic all-rounder who can play the anchor role and give you four good overs. Tye, on the other hand, has commendable accuracy with the ball and can tonk the ball as well. Mohit Sharma, Ashwin himself, Axar Patel, and Ben Dwarshius are the other bowlers in the squad. It is not the best attack, but neither is it pedestrian. The onus will be on Tye and Sharma to get their team off to a good start, Ashwin’s spell will be crucial too, but the other eight overs are a concern. They do have the batting to cover up for it, but this is a big Achilles Heel for them unless their other bowlers perform.
DD win. Gambhir has the advantage here with his experience, excellent bowling attack, and a slightly vulnerable Kings XI.