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Murali Vijay has been Kings XI Punjab’s highest run-scorer © AFP

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) haven’t had the kind of campaign they hoped for in the ninth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016. With 7 defeats in 10 matches, their chances of reaching the Playoffs seem bleak. However, replacing David Miller with Murali Vijay as the team’s captain has worked in their favour. They won 2 out of the last 4 matches under Vijay’s leadership, as one of the defeats was by only a run. They will locks horns with Mumbai Indians (MI) in Match 43 of IPL 2016 at Visakhapatnam on Friday. A win today against MI will place them at the penultimate position in the points table. Let’s have a look at KXIP’s likely XI. Full Cricket Scorecard: Mumbai Indians vs Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2016 Match 43 at Visakhapatnam

Batting: Hashim Amla was recently drafted into the squad in place of the injured Shaun Marsh. The South African has scored only 22 runs in 2 matches he played for KXIP. Indeed, a big score is due from the mighty Hash, as he has a reputation of piling on runs on subcontinental tracks. With Amla, captain Vijay will open the innings. In the last 4 matches as KXIP leader, he has plunder 175 runs. On the contrary, he managed to score 143 runs in 6 matches he played under Miller’s leadership. Thus, it is safe to say that the swashbuckling opener thrives when made to lead the brigade.

Technically-sound Wriddhiman Saha is likely to come at No. 3. He has only one half-century this season; however, that came in a winning cause, despite wickets kept tumbling at the other end. He’ll be handy to tackle the likes of Mitchell McClenaghan and Tim Southee if KXIP is to lose one of the openers in the batting Powerplay.

At No. 4 comes Miller. Looking at his previous IPL records, this season’s number may not speak volumes of his abilities. Over the years, he’s been KXIP’s most talismanic batsman. For KXIP to be win all the remaining matches, Killer Miller has no option but to go all guns blazing. Preview: MI target playoff spot against floundering KXIP

All-rounders: How come a team that has a variety of all-rounders can be at the bottom of the table? Truth be told, this question startles the entire cricketing fraternity. With the likes of Marcus Stoinis, Farhaan Behardien and Akshar Patel, KXIP can outplay any given team even in crunch situation.

Stonis has been in the peak of his form of late. With 146 runs and a three-for to his name, he has been KXIP’s most heartening aspect this season. He stepped up every time his teammates failed to provide impetus.

Another all-rounder who hasn’t had much action this season is South Africa’s Behardien. We have witnessed him taking his national team over the line with both bat and ball. Given KXIP has no margin of error left, he’ll likely to play his second IPL contest of this season. Akshar, on the other hand, displayed his mastery by taking a hat-trick as well clearing the ropes with ease. He’ll, undoubtedly, play a vital role in tonight’s encounter.

Bowling: KXIP does not feature the most lethal bowling attack. But they can contain the onslaught and pick wickets at regular intervals. With medium pacers such as Mohit Sharma, Anureet Singh and Sandeep Sharma, they can keep the MI batters quiet and keep a lid on the runs. Moreover, they boast of a mystery spinner in KC Kariappa. He has been drafted into the playing XI only thrice this season, however, he managed to scalp at least a wicket in every match. With his array of variations, he’ll be handy in the middle overs to get the better of Kieron Pollard and Jos Buttler.

Kings XI Punjab’s likely XI: Murali Vijay (c). Hashim Amla, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), David Miller, Marcus Stoinis, Farhaan Behardien, Akshar Patel, Mohit Sharma, Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma, KC Kariappa.

(Kaustubh S. Mayekar, a reporter at CricketCountry, played cricket at U-16 level. Like his idol Rahul Dravid, he often shadow-practises cricket shots. His Twitter handle is @kaumedy_)