Indian Premier League is a league where the teams not only fight for the title but they are made to fight for the playoff stages too. The teams rival each other in the final week to qualify for the knockout stages. And the beauty of IPL 2020 is that apart from Mumbai Indians no other team has qualified yet for the playoffs stages with the competition being wide open for the rest three spots. Six teams, three spots and Kings XI Punjab are in contention.
In the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League, Kings XI Punjab were on the brink of exit until they faced Royal Challengers Bangalore. Since then, the team hasn’t turned back and have registered five wins on the trot. They have won the game against Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders and delayed their qualification. Now, KXIP are on the verge of qualification, needing two wins from two games.
On Friday, Kings XI Punjab locks their horns against Rajasthan Royals in Abudhabi. A victory can take Punjab almost to the playoffs whereas a defeat will once again open-up the contest. Kings XI Punjab have to reproduce the consistent performance against Rajasthan if they are to put one leg in the playoffs.
— Punjab Kings (@PunjabKingsIPL) October 30, 2020
Here are the top three picks for Kings XI Punjab against Rajasthan Royals on Friday at Sheikh Zayed Stadium:
#1) Chris Gayle
The West Indian giant is the person who turned Kings XI Punjab’s season around. After having just one win in six games, Chris Gayle played a crucial role in bringing the team back into the contest. Despite batting at No 3, which is not his usual place, Chris Gayle has scored runs in bulk and supported the brittle batting line-up. He will be one of the top three picks for KXIP against the Rajasthan Royals on Friday.
In IPL 2020, Chris Gayle has 177 runs in five games averaging 35.40. Though he is not at his destructive best, Gayle has remained effective. KL Rahul and the team management will expect a big inning from the player against Rajasthan.
#2) Murugan Ashwin
Indian Premier League is a cruel league where the bowlers’ arent appreciated much. However, Murugan Ashwin deserves praise as he is able to restrict the opposition with economic spells if not with wickets. Against the likes of Rajasthan Royals, Murugan Ashwin has a big role to play and will be one of the top three picks for the side on Friday.
In IPL 2020, Murugan Ashwin has one of the decent stats for a bowler. In seven games for his side, Ashwin has nine wickets at an economy of 7.44 runs per over. Can he stop Steve Smith and Co?
#3) Mandeep Singh
Despite losing his father a day before the 11th game of KXIP in 2020, Mandeep Singh went on to play a crucial inning against Kolkata Knight Riders. After a crucial fifty, Mandeep Singh pointed towards the sky and dedicated the half-century to his father. Only a few crickets have done this in the past and Mandeep Singh has joined the elite list.
In Punjab’s resurgence, Mandeep Singh has played a big part. In five innings, he has 116 runs to his name at a strike rate of 124.73. He has handled the batting well at the top of the order in the absence of Mayank Agarwal. KXIP will expect a much bigger performance by the player at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.