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IPL 7: Kings XI Punjab need international stars to mask their inexperience in knock-out ties

Kings XI Punjab are behind in terms of the big-match experience in IPL playoffs © IANS
Kings XI Punjab are behind in terms of the big-match experience in IPL playoffs © IANS

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) have been tipped by many a neutral watching the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 for a maiden win in the tournament. With Mumbai Indians’ thrill-a-minute win against Rajasthan Royals, the final four has three previous winners leaving Punjab behind in terms of the big-match experience, feels R Vishal.

Experience will be the biggest buzzword in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 play-offs. In the past, we have witnessed Chennai Super Kings (CSK) go through a less than impressive run of form in the group stages. However, in isolated knock-out games, MS Dhoni’s men have showed a know-how and panache that make them soar in the crunch moments. Chennai have played in five out of the six IPL finals. Leading a young group of players at Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), George Bailey would have his task cut out against the battle-scarred veterans.

Captain Bailey has had a quite tournament so far and promoting himself up the order should be a card that Punjab could use. David Miller being used as more than a slogger worked wonders recently and it is vital that the southpaw gets as many overs to unleash his fury. Legend Virender Sehwag’s seasoned blade will also have a critical say during the powerplay overs. As for the bowling, Mitchell Johnson must display some of his savagery that England and South Africa suffered earlier in the year. The left-arm pacer has had a pedestrian tournament so far.

Glenn Maxwell and Miller’s robust hitting simply blew teams out of the water in the initial stages of IPL 7. Maxwell’s relentless clubbing of the ball though has been countered by teams in recent games. Despite having several match-winners, Maxwell has overshadowed the rest by a fair distance. This is where the Australian needs to be selective about his big-hitting by introducing a little more method to his ultra-aggressive style. Punjab will be up against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Qualifier 1 and the wily tweaker in Sunil Narine will be a major threat.

Punjab may need to play the West Indian out as Eden Gardens will offer plenty of turn and attempting to hit him out could backfire. In this battle of wits, the big boys will be waiting for Punjab to commit mistakes themselves. This makes them the most vulnerable team of the lot but the stage is set for their international stars to stamp their authority when it really matters.

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(R Vishal is a journalist and alumni of Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)

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