What should be the best playing 11 for KXIP in IPL 2019?

Kings XI Punjab won 5 out of the first 6 matches in IPL 2018 and then lost their way. Ending up on 7th position, the season ended on a low note for them.

Consequently, Punjab releases as many as 11 players from their squad and look to strengthen a new middle order and all-rounders which were their weak areas.

Let’s take a look at the strongest XIs of the Kings XI in the home and away conditions.

1. Batsmen

1.1 Top Order (Number 1, 2 and 3) - KXIP’s first-choice opening combination will be KL Rahul and Chris Gayle. KL Rahul had a breakthrough season with KXIP by hitting 659 runs in 14 matches at a strike rate of 158. Gayle was not the first choice but cemented his place by winning a couple of matches on his own.

Nicolas Pooran can also come in to open the batting or at No. 3 if these batsmen do not click. With 347 runs in 13 T20s, he is in fine form and is very handy behind the wicket.

The position of No. 3 - Mayank Agarwal comes in as the first choice No. 3 batsman for Kings XI. Mayank is riding high on confidence after the Team India call-up in Australia and Kings XI would like to fully utilize his skills at the top of the order.

Note - If Gayle doesn’t play, Mayank Agarwal and Nicolas Pooran can easily exchange places, with Pooran comfortable at the top

2. Middle Order (Number 4, 5 and 6) - Kings Xi Punjab’s middle order in South African conditions is Karun Nair, David Miller, and Mandeep Singh. Karun Nair did not have a good IPL 2018 but the franchise put their trust back in him. He will look to convert the starts he got into big scores and comes in at No. 4

David Miller at no. 5 comes into the starting XI in South African conditions. He has the domestic advantage and Kings XI Punjab should be smart to exploit that.

Moises Henriques will replace Miller at No. 5 as the South African has a deadline date set by the CSA to return to his national side.

Mandeep Singh comes in at No. 6. All-rounder was traded from RCB and has a wealth of experience in the IPL. With 84 matches played, he provides the much-needed balance to the middle order.

3. Lower Order (Number 7, 8 and 9) - Ravichandran Ashwin comes in at No. 7 for the Kings XI Punjab. He led from the front but the captaincy took a toll on his performance after half the season. He will look to turn things around this year with the ball and the bat.

Afghan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman comes in at No. 8. Mujeeb picked 14 wickets in 11 matches with his variations hard to read for even the best T20 batsmen. With an ability to strike big as we are seeing in BBL, Mujeeb jumps up the batting order in our best XI from last year.

2018 purple cap holder Andrew Tye comes in at No. 9. Andrew Tye has the all-time best bowling strike rate in IPL for a bowler at 12.83. One of the best T20 bowlers, his selection in the side is a no-brainer.

The backup lower order option in the team is Sam Curran. The left arm pacer will play in the tournament at some stage. Sam Curran can also provide the much-needed depth to the Kings XI Punjab. For the Indian leg, he comes in the team as Tye leaves for World Cup.

4. Bowlers (No. 10 and No. 11) - For the South African leg, Kings XI Punjab has 2 domestic pacers in their attack in Mohammad Shami and Ankit Rajpoot. Shami has proved to be expensive in Indian conditions but in South Africa, he will lead the attack with the new ball.

Ankit Rajpoot’s has picked 19 wickets in 19 matches in IPL with 14 of them coming in 2018. With him at No. 11, the Kings XI Punjab team is complete.

Mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy replaces Mohammad Shami for the Indian leg. The biggest buy of 2019 has 22 wickets in 9 T20s played.

Backup Pacers - Darshan Nalkande

Important Notes -

1) Varun Chakravarthy being an allrounder will come up the order in the Indian leg pushing Mujeeb Ur Rehman down to No. 10.

2) If Gayle doesn’t click, Mayank Agarwal is the best option to open the innings and Moises Henriques at No. 3.

KINGS XI PUNJAB BEST XI - SOUTH AFRICAN LEG

Lokesh Rahul (WK)
Chris Gayle ✈️
Mayank Agrawal
Karun Nair
David Miller ✈️
Mandeep Singh
Ravichandran Ashwin (C)
Mujeeb Ur Rahman ✈️
Mohammad Shami
Andrew Tye ✈️
Ankit Rajpoot

KINGS XI PUNJAB BEST XI - INDIAN LEG

Lokesh Rahul (WK)
Chris Gayle ✈️
Mayank Agrawal
Karun Nair
Moises Henriques ✈️
Mandeep Singh
Varun Chakaravarthy
Ravichandran Ashwin
Sam Curran ✈️
Mujeeb Ur Rehman ✈️
Ankit Rajpoot