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IPL 2020 SWOT analysis: Will it be 13th time lucky for KL Rahul-led Kings XI Punjab?

KXIP are one of just three teams in the IPL yet to taste the joy of winning the trophy. Their best-ever performance came in 2014 when they reached the final but couldn’t get past KKR.

Published: 19th September 2020 08:49 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2020 08:49 PM   |  A+A-

Kings XI Punjab, KXIP

KL Rahul-led KXIP. (Photo | AP)

Online Desk

This will be the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League...but Kings XI Punjab is yet to take the glorious trophy home. Will 2020 finally be their year?

KXIP are one of just three teams in the IPL which haven't tasted the joy of winning the title. Their best-ever performance came in 2014 when they reached the final but couldn’t get past Kolkata Knight Riders. Normal service resumed subsequently, with the franchise usually finishing in the bottom four.

This year, Punjab named their opener KL Rahul as the new captain after former skipper Ravichandran Ashwin was traded to Delhi Capitals.

Let's have a look at the KXIP squad which boasts some solid purchases at this season’s auction and evaluate their chances in IPL 2020:

Squad:

KL Rahul (captain and wicketkeeper) Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Sheldon Cottrell, Ishan Porel, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Arshdeep Singh, Hardus Viljoen, M Ashwin, J Suchith, Harpreet Brar, Darshan Nalkande, Glenn Maxwell, James Neesham, Chris Jordan, Krishnappa Gowtham, Deepak Hooda, Tajinder Singh Dhillon, Nicholas Pooran (wicketkeeper), Prabhsimran Singh (wicketkeeper).

Support staff:

Head coach: Anil Kumble

Assistant coach: Andy Flower

Batting coach: Wasim Jaffer

Bowling coach: Charl Langeveldt

Fielding coach: Jonty Rhodes

Physiotherapist: Andrew Leipus

Strength and conditioning coach: Adrian Le Roux

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Strengths:

Punjab have a strong overseas list with the inclusion of Glenn Maxwell, Chris Jordan and Sheldon Cottrell. Maxwell had lit up the UAE leg of the IPL during the 2014 edition and the franchise would be hoping for a repeat from the Australian who is in great form after hitting a match-winning ton against World Cup winner England.

Also, the big positive for this side is the understanding between Kumble and Rahul, both of whom are from Bengaluru, which should help the team.

Besides, they also have a strong Indian core from the same Ranji team. KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Krishnappa Gowtham and Karun Nair have all been part of the Karnataka side.

Also, Rahul has been in terrific form of late for India, and Punjab will hope he continues in the same style, with the added motivation of leading the team to the title in the 13th attempt.

When it comes to fast-bowling, Punjab has the likes of Mohammed Shami, Hardus Viljoen, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Sheldon Cottrell and Chris Jordan in their ranks. It's safe to say that this fast-bowling line-up looks impressive on paper.

Question marks: 

One of the things which can go against Punjab is a potential struggle to get the combination right, considering they have made some new additions. Gayle's recent form hasn't been that great and another under-par performance could add pressure on Maxwell and Rahul.

In case the likes of Rahul, Gayle and Maxwell fall cheaply, the middle order is slightly weak despite the presence of Mandeep Singh.

When it comes to bowling, the side just has one big name as a spinner and that is Afghanistan's Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman.

However, KXIP will hope for a change in fortunes with a rejigged set of support staff that includes Anil Kumble, Jonty Rhodes, Wasim Jaffer and Andy Flower - all sharp thinkers of the game - for the upcoming season.

ALSO READ: IPL 2020 SWOT analysis: Can Thala Dhoni and his Chennai Super Kings go all the way?

Prediction:

With the current edition being played in the UAE, the side would hope to reclaim the magic of the 2014 season when they finished runners-up. The first leg of that season was played in the UAE and KXIP managed to win all their matches during that phase.

Nobody rates Punjab among the lead contenders and that might just work in their favour. A spirited performance this time can lead them into the playoffs. And you never know -- this bunch can do what some of the best in the business couldn't for the Mohali-based outfit in the last 13 years!

Kings XI Punjab will lock horns with Delhi Capitals in their first match of the tournament on September 20.

Best XI:

KL Rahul (C)

Chris Gayle (F)

Mayank Agarwal

Mandeep Singh

Glenn Maxwell (F)

Sarfaraz Khan

Krishnappa Gowtham

Chris Jordan (F)

Mohammad Shami

Mujeeb ur Rahman (F)

Murugan Ashwin

KXIP's fixtures: 

DC vs KXIP    20 Sep, Sun (1930)    Dubai

KXIP vs RCB    24 Sep, Thu (1930)    Dubai

RR vs KXIP    27 Sep, Sun (1930)    Sharjah

KXIP vs MI    1 Oct, Thu (1930)    Abu Dhabi

KXIP vs CSK    4 Oct, Sun (1930)    Dubai

SRH vs KXIP    8 Oct, Thu (1930)    Dubai

KXIP vs KKR    10 Oct, Sat (1530)    Abu Dhabi

RCB vs KXIP    15 Oct, Thu (1930)    Sharjah

MI vs KXIP    18 Oct, Sun (1930)    Dubai

KXIP vs DC    20 Oct, Tue (1930)    Dubai

KXIP vs SRH    24 Oct, Sat (1930)    Dubai

KKR vs KXIP    26 Oct, Mon (1930)    Sharjah

KXIP vs RR    30 Oct, Fri (1930)    Abu Dhabi

CSK vs KXIP    1 Nov, Sun (1530)    Abu Dhabi

History:

2008: 3rd

2009: 5th

2010: 8th

2011: 5th

2012: 6th

2013: 6th

2014: 2nd

2015: 8th

2016: 8th

2017: 5th

2018: 7th

2019: 6th



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