Here is an analysis on the strengths and weaknesses of Kings XI Punjab this year.
Opening partnership - Gayle (projected batting impact +2.77) and Rahul (+2.36) are a very dangerous opening partnership. Last season they scored 1,026 runs between them at a run rate of 9.18 runs per over.
Spin bowling - Mujeeb (projected bowling impact +2.50) and R Ashwin (+1.52) are KXIP’s top two ranked bowlers. Leg spinner M Ashwin (+0.06) and new signing Varun Chakravarthy - who is yet to play a full T20 match but is a highly regarded mystery spinner - are also options. Last season 44% of KXIP’s overs were bowled by spinners - the second highest proportion of all teams behind KKR. This season that proportion may be even higher.
Bowling depth - After Mujeeb (+2.50), Ashwin (+1.52) and Tye (+1.19), KXIP’s bowling is alarmingly short on depth. Mohammad Shami has recently displayed excellent white ball form for India but has a woeful T20 record (-2.52). KXIP spent a huge amount of money on Curran who also has a poor T20 record (-0.88). Other bowling options include M Ashwin (+0.06), Ankit Rajpoot (-0.24) and Hardus Viljoen (-0.61).
All-rounders - KXIP are going to struggle to balance their team with a lack of strong all-rounders. Henriques (projected impact -1.29) and Curran (-1.20) are two overseas options but neither are particularly good options while the Indians Agnivesh Ayachi, Varun Chakravarthy and Harpreet Brar have never played a T20 match and Darshan Nalkande has played just three (-0.54). None of KXIP’s frontline batsmen - Gayle, Rahul, Nair, Agarwal, Mandeep or Sarfaraz - could provide a bowling option either.
Overseas picks - The lack of all rounders is going to complicate KXIP’s four overseas picks. Gayle (projected impact +3.01) and Mujeeb (+2.19) are certain starters. Tye (+0.51) should also start to bolster KXIP’s otherwise weak bowling. If KXIP had solid Indian all round options they could play Pooran (projected batting impact +1.07) or Miller (+0.16) to strengthen the lower order batting but they may have to expend an overseas pick on Curran or Henriques to balance the team.
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