Kings XI pins hopes on Maxwell

Given his heroics here on Saturday, Glenn Maxwell is likely to come out swinging. He and his men will certainly not be short of belief. The host – Indore is among the adopted homes of Kings XI Punjab – will be up against a side that poses a considerable threat to it despite the absence of some of its biggest names.

Kings XI Punjab will hope for its skipper Glenn Maxwell to come good.   -  File Photo

Given his heroics here on Saturday, Glenn Maxwell is likely to come out swinging. He and his men will certainly not be short of belief. The host – Indore is among the adopted homes of Kings XI Punjab – will be up against a side that poses a considerable threat to it despite the absence of some of its biggest names.

Royal Challengers Bangalore is an emotional favourite with many. This star-studded side has come close to the title in the past without actually winning IPL.

Will this be the season of triumph for the rather enigmatic RCB? But then, the side has been hit hard by pull-outs and injury concerns.

Already without strokeful opener K.L. Rahul for the entire season and its charismatic skipper Virat Kohli for the first few games, RCB is sweating over the fitness of its influential batsman AB de Villiers, nursing a sore back.

And ahead of the season, the side’s pace spearhead Mitchell Starc withdrew from IPL to recover from fitness concerns.

RCB, however, still possesses several game-changers, none more than the explosive Chris Gayle. The West Indian’s opening partner and stand-in skipper Shane Watson is an old hand in this format, whether smashing the ball to different corners or bowling his medium-pacers with skill and cunning.

And Kedar Jadhav, the little shot-maker in the middle-order, can gather runs at a hectic pace even during difficult times like he showed against the Daredevils the other day.

The surface here has some grass on it, the bounce is good and there was some movement off the seam for Kings XI pacemen when they bowled first here on Saturday.

This is precisely why RCB’s hostile Tymal Mills and the lanky Billy Stanlake, another bowler with genuine speed, could relish bowling here.

And leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal comprehends this format well; he bowls stump to stump, has variety and can get the ball to skid off the pitch.

Kings XI has some serious firepower in skipper Maxwell and the left-handed David Miller. Against Supergiant, Maxwell wisely held himself and Miller back for the final onslaught.

And Marcus Stoinis, a handy pace bowling all-rounder, is a serious striker of the ball. Up the order, the smooth-stroking Hashim Amla could be due for a weighty innings.

Kings XI has a useful bunch of seamers in Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma and left-armer T. Natarajan; the threesome bowled with control in the first game. And left-arm spinner Axar Patel is a pretty tidy bowler who extracts bounce.

The team chasing will have an advantage on this small ground.

Match starts at 8 p.m.