Kings XI Punjab's (KXIP) have had a topsy-turvy ride in the last 10 editions of the Indian Premier League (IPL). They finished as runners up in 2014 and ended their campaign as semi-finalist in 2008 - their best performances till date. Apart from these two editions, the Punjab outfit faced ousters in league stages in remaining eight seasons. With Ravichandran Ashwin as captain, who will lead a group of explosive batsmen like Chris Gayle, Yuvraj Singh and Aaron Finch, KXIP will once again enter the cash-rich league as title favourites.
KXIP had an impressive outing in the maiden IPL in 2008. Under Yuvraj Singh's captaincy, the team reached the semi-finals, where they lost to Chennai Super Kings by nine wickets. The next five seasons (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013) saw KXIP facing ousters in the league stages. They finished fifth in 2009, eighth in 2010, fifth in 2011 and sixth in 2012. The year 2014 saw a different KXIP altogether. Captained by Australia's George Bailey, KXIP kicked off the seventh season on a high, winning the first five matches of the tournament. With 11 wins three defeats, KXIP made it to the Qualifier 1 where they lost to Kolkata Knight Riders by 28 runs. In the Qualifier 2, Virender Sehwag scored a blistering 122 off 58 balls to help KXIP defeat CSK by 24 runs to set up a summit clash against KKR.
Despite scoring a mammoth 199 for 4 in 20 overs in the final, KXIP failed to defend the total and lost the final by three wickets.
Chances this year:
Ashwin will captain the squad comprising Axar Patel, Karun Nair, KL Rahul, Barinder Sran, Mohit Sharma and the in-form Mayank Agarwal. Apart from these youngsters, KXIP batting is most attacking in comparison to other teams. Gayle, Finch, Yuvraj, Tiwary and the young Dagar will bolster the batting line-up for the team. With a solid-looking squad, KXIP can go and win the maiden silverware.
Squad: Akshar Patel, KL Rahul, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis, Karun Nair, Mujeeb Zadran, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, David Miller, Mohit Sharma, Barinder Singh Sran, Yuvraj Singh, Chris Gayle, Ben Dwarshuis, Akshdeep Nath, Manoj Tiwary, Mayank Agarwal, Manzoor Dar, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar