If there is one franchise that would be eagerly waiting to play IPL in UAE, then it has to be Kings XI Punjab. They had a great run when they last toured UAE, during the first half of IPL 2014, winning all five matches, and were the only team to have achieved this feat.
For IPL 2020, they bought a total of 9 players during the auction with James Neesham, Glenn Maxwell, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Jordan, and Ravi Bishnoi as some of their expensive picks. Among those who were traded-in include Jagadeesha Suchith and Krishnappa Gowtham.
All in all, they make a solid squad on-paper who possess just the right balance of talent and experience.
On that note, let’s have a look at the top five players from Kings XI Punjab watch out for in IPL 2020.
Bought at a price of over 10 crore, the Aussie all-rounder was among the highest bids in the IPL 2020 auctions
He was one of the core contributors to Kings XI Punjab’s success in the 2014 edition of IPL, especially in the first half of the league stages which were held in UAE.
The hard-hitter registered scores of – 95, 89, 95, 15, and 6, in those five matches that took place in UAE.
Also, one needs to note that he has been scoring exceptionally well in the last two years in T20Is, with a century and a couple half centuries in each year, making him a player to keep an eye upon from the Kings XI Punjab.
Chris Gayle had a smooth transition from Royal Challengers Bangalore to Kings XI Punjab in the 2018 edition.
Hailed by many as the Greatest Batsman in T20 cricket, the Caribbean giant scored 368 runs in 11 innings, averaging over 40, and scoring a hundred and 3 fifties.
The southpaw came up with an even aggressive show in the 2019 edition of IPL, wherein he amassed close to 500 runs while maintaining a strike rate of over 150. Not to mention, he struck 34 sixes and was second only to Andre Russell (52) in the previous edition.
By far, he is one of the biggest spin-bashers to have played T20 cricket, and his contests against Rashid Khan, Imran Tahir and Shreyas Gopal would be worth witnessing.
The last two years have witnessed the rise and rise of KL Rahul in T20 cricket.
He has been the front runner in terms of runs scored for KXIP, smashing 6 fifties in each edition and averaging over 50.
In T20Is, he has scored over 650 runs and struck 7 fifties in those 17 appearances.
But, what’s interesting this time around is KL Rahul being appointed as the captain for KXIP and a veteran Anil Kumble assisting him as the head coach.
It’s an added responsibility for the Karnataka born and how he steers his side to their maiden title win is something that will form the crux of KXIP’s story in the forthcoming season.
Pooran is already rated as one of the rising Caribbean talents in the shortest format.
He was quite impressive in the limited opportunities that he received in the previous edition of IPL, wherein he registered scores of 12, 5, 46, 21, 48 and 36, while maintaining a strike rate of 150.
The fans and franchise have high expectations from the 24-year-old, and IPL 2020 might just be the year of Pooran.
The left arm pacer was picked during the IPL 2020 auction at 8.5 crores, and with the skill-set he brings into the table, he would be heavily banked upon in affecting the early breakthroughs .
In 88 T20s, Cottrell has picked 123 wickets at an economy of 7.42, and has averaged mere 19.15.
Not many bowlers can generate variations while bowling at speeds of 140-plus but for someone like Cottrell who does it on a regular basis, one would want to see him bamboozle the rival wickets in UAE.
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