Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
Kings XI v Gujarat Lions | Monday 11 April | Punjab Cricket Association Stadium | 16:30
The Kings XI Punjab will host new boys on the block, the Gujarat Lions, this Monday in what should be a thrilling contest between two sides that contains some of the hardest hitting batsmen in the game.
With the likes of David Miller, Glen Maxwell, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, and Aaron Finch set to turn out at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, this game could well prove to be a rather high scoring affair.
To Win Match
King XI Punjab 8/10 | Draw 35/1 | Gujarat Giants 1/1
Kings XI Punjab
The Kings XI come into the 2016 edition of the Indian Premier league with a rather well balanced looking squad. Their batting lineup for Monday’s clash is likely to contain the explosive David Miller, the unorthodox but effective Glen Maxwell, and belligerent opening bat Shaun Marsh while their bowling unit boasts two crafty quicks in the form of Mohit Sharma and Kyle Abbott. They also possess some quality spinners in the shape of KC Cariappa and Gurkeerat Singh.
This is a big year for the Kings XI who have struggled to make since this inception of the IPL. They’ve only ever made it through to the knock-out stages twice in their eight years of participation, and they finished the 2015 edition at the foot of the IPL table.
They’re going to need to hit the ground running this year, which may prove to be a hard task as they are coming up against a Gujarat Lions side that is made up of some of the finest exponents of the shortest format of the game.
If the Kings XI are to get their campaign off to a winning start they are going to need their international stars to fire. Glen Maxwell and David Miller are likely to be the two key men for the Kings XI. The duo are capable of laying siege to an opposition bowling attack.
One of the two will have to spend a significant period of time at the crease as I suspect we will see a bit of a top order collapse tomorrow. While David Miller’s side have a decent middle order, their top order looks a little suspect in my opinion.
Another new franchise that will be looking to make the most out of last year’s match-fixing scandal, which saw the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals banned for the next two seasons, are the Gujarat Lions.
The newly formed franchise have managed to enlist some superb talent which includes Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Dale Steyn, and James Faulkner. They also have some decent, if not spectacular local talent, at their disposal in the form of Dinesh Kartik, 41-year old veteran Pravin Tambe, and all-rounder Jaydev Shah.
I have to say, I really like the look of this Gujarat side. They’ve got some prodigious batting talent and a bowling attack that looks capable of unsettling even the most star-studded of franchises. They also have a few men who are out to prove a point.
After a horror show at last month’s World T20, one expects that Dale Steyn will be out to prove to the world that his best days are long behind him. The 'Phalaborwa Express' may have lost a yard or two's worth of pace over the past three years, but he is still as aggressive as he was when he first burst onto the internationals scene. If he can find a bit of movement under the lights on Monday evening then he’s likely to trouble a rather suspect looking Kings XI top order.
Verdict: Gujarat Giants 1/1
I fancy the new boys to open their campaign with a victory over the Kings XI.
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