Following the nail-biting victory against Mumbai in their inaugural game of this edition of Indian Premier League (IPL), the Steven Smith-led Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) will take on a new look Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at the Holkar Stadium at Indore on Saturday. This will be a home game for KXIP and the first day-night match of IPL 10.
It was a sensational Smith, who took Pune home in a stiff run chase with a breathtaking 84 on Thursday. Now they would like to continue that winning momentum. Whereas under a new skipper, Punjab will look for a fresh start in a new season of IPL at their adopted home, Indore.
Battle of two Aussie captains:
After finishing at the bottom of the table last year, the Kings XI Punjab team management has opted to hand over the charge of the team of flamboyant Aussie batsman Glenn Maxwell this season. They have also brought in some exciting players like Eoin Morgan, Martin Guptill, T Natarajan through the auction. The uncapped pacer Natarajan was a sensation in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) last year. More or less, this KXIP unit is looking more balanced this year and under the aggressive Maxwell, they will certainly hope to put on a better show.
For Pune, captain Steven Smith has led from the front in the first game. Not only with the bat, his leadership also made a difference in the outcome of the match. The decision of playing two leg-spinners – Imran Tahir and Adam Zampa was a bold one and it paid off in the end.
Thus, on Saturday afternoon, it will be a battle of two Australian teammates, who will be desperate to outplay each other.
Opening worries for Kings XI Punjab:
Martin Guptill, Punjab’s most likely opening batsman, will not be available for the first few games of IPL 10 due to a hamstring injury. They are already missing the services of their regular opener Murali Vijay and this has created a hole in the top order. Manan Vohra will definitely be the one opener, but it will be interesting to notice, who will partner him. Saha can be one option or they can promote Miller to the top of the order.
The Sehwag factor
Virender Sehwag is the mentor of KXIP and when he is around, we can expect some surprises, like the decision to select Ishant Sharma as a replacement of injured Vijay just one day before the start of the tournament. We can expect similar surprises during the course of the match as well.
Venue: Indore is hosting an IPL game after six years. The wicket at the Holkar stadium is known for being a batting paradise. So fans can hope for a high scoring contest. Toss here will play a vital role and the chasing team will have a clear advantage.
Players to watch out for: Along with the skippers – Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell, also watch out for Morgan, Miller, Ben Stokes, MS Dhoni, Rahane and young Natarajan.
Players to pick in your Fantasy teams:
Foreigners: Steven Smith, Ben Stokes, Glenn Maxwell and Eoin Morgan
Indian capped players: Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni, Axer Patel, Sandeep Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha
Uncapped player: T Natarajan, Rajat Bhatia, Manan Vohra