IPL 2015: Kings XI Punjab vs Rajasthan Royals at Pune, pick of the tweets

The runners-up of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), take on the IPL champions of the first edition, Rajasthan Royals in the third match of the IPL 2015 at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium (MCA) in Pune on Friday. Both the teams will be keen to start their opening game on a high note at Pune, which will see KXIP as the home team.

Both the teams have a similar factor in common, i.e. the presence of rich Australian talents, who have just returned from the World Cup 2015 triumph. It will be an Australian affair with Shane Watson, James Faulkner and Steven Smith in RR’s top side, while the likes of George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Marsh form a formidable KXIP side.

For KXIP, they have not done much change with the team and have kept it almost the same. The idea of coach Sanjay Bangar to play attacking cricket remains the same. To add more solidity at the top, KXIP added Indian opening batsman Murali Vijay to the squad.

Virender Sehwag will again prove to be a decisive player at the opening spot after a good season of domestic cricket. The likes Maxwell, Bailey and David ‘Killer’ Miller in the team makes this side a team to beat. The Maxwell-Miller (MM) factor has been the strong points of the team as the duo have the capability to change things in a jiffy.

In the bowling department, Johnson will spearhead the pace attack with the likes of Sandeep Sharma, Parvinder Awana and Anureet Singh. The addition of Shardul Thakur adds more variety to the pace attack. The spin department will be headed by economical Axar Patel while Rishi Dhawan comes as a utility all-rounder.

In terms of RR, the pillar of batting lies with Ajinkya Rahane, Smith and Watson. They also have the talented Sanju Samson and Karun Nair in the squad, which adds strength to the batting order. Though Stuart Binny didn’t get a chance to play in the recently concluded World Cup 2015, he will be a vital player for the RR. In the lower batting order, Tim Southee is also known to use the long handle to good effect and then there is Faulkner, one of the most dangerous exponents of the T20 format.

The bowling department looks more solid now with the acquisitions of Chris Morris and Juan Theron. Both the players are handy buys and are proven twenty20 (T20) specialists. Pravin Tambe remains a wily customer of spin bowling and aged at 43, his agility and dynamism is a benchmark. Binny is a proven all-rounder while the likes of Rajat Bhatia, Ben Cutting and Vikramjeet Malik add more zest to the bowling.

One just cannot underestimate the other as both the sides are a balanced side on paper. The battle promises to be an enthralling one which will see Bailey against his compatriot Watson at Pune.

Pick of the tweets: