Saturday, Dec 20, 2014

IPL 7 preview: George and his Kings

The Kings XI Punjab have emerged as unlikely heroes (Source: IPL/BCCI) With the likes of Maxwell, Miller, Bailey and Sharma performing consistently, Kings XI Punjab have emerged as the most destructive team in the ongoing season. (Source: IPL/BCCI)
Written by Sahil Malhotra | New Delhi | Posted: May 27, 2014 3:09 pm | Updated: May 28, 2014 4:33 pm

the line with an over left to play. Boy oh boy, what a knock that was. An innings laced with 15 boundaries and two hits over the fence announced Maxwell’s and KXIP’s grand arrival in the seventh edition.

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High five! 

What followed next was mockery of the opposition bowling. Won by seven wickets, won by 72 runs, won by 23 runs, won by five wickets, and KXIP, in no time, extended their winning streak to five. Watch and react was something off their radar as they continued to do it the bang way!

Match after match they kept improving and unearthed the remaining potential in the squad, which was way more than just the Mad Max.

Sandeep Sharma’s exploits with the new ball, flashes of Sehwag-of-the-old at the top of the order, the ever reliable David Miller in the middle, the rookie spinner Akshar Patel, and the KXIP unit, in no time, developed the reputation of the team to beat.

Yes they did taste defeat, but held their own to not let it affect their overall performances. No matter how the playoffs leg unfolds, KXIP will be itching to settle scores with Mumbai Indians, who beat them in both their encounters. When it comes to scores, there is one which KXIP will be desperate to force in their favour. After crashing to a comprehensive nine-wicket defeat in their last league encounter against the Kolkata Knight Riders, the first play-off will give KXIP a shot at sweet revenge.

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The eDEN lions 

On paper, there is very little separating the two sides. It is like a man-to-man football marking. But if current form is taken into account, KKR, with seven consecutive wins under their belt and the added advantage of playing in front of a capacity Eden Gardens crowd, will give the explosive KXIP a run for their money. Not that KKR batsmen or KXIP bowlers are not good, but this contest will be decided by how KKR bowl and KXIP bat.

KXIP have scored at a tad over 9 (9.03) in the tournament so far and KKR have conceded an impressive 7.63 every over. If either team goes on to stick to the tournament pattern, the result will be an early conclusion.

Strength check

Maxwell: The aggressive right-hander was an obvious choice here. Though he has had a quiet second half, but what he showed us in the first half was something special. Many have started to believe that they have cracked the Maxwell code with leg-spin, but the right-hander will be out to prove his critics wrong and supporters right. Big match, big occasion, and a perfect setting for someone like Maxwell to fire all cylinders.

A disappointing second half is not something which one can read from his numbers, thanks to the bang bang start and a special knock in Ranchi. Even after scores of 0, 2, 14 in his last three outings, the right-hander, with 533 runs from 13 matches, sits pretty continued…

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