Dubai: The KL Rahul-led Punjab Kings are the real dark horses this season. One cannot write them off as they look a different unit with veteran Chris Gayle firing at No 3. They are placed 6th in the points table with three wins from seven games. They would like to get the UAE leg off to a winning start and get back in contention for a Playoffs spot. Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra predicted the PBKS playing XI.

It is a no-brainer at the top as Rahul will open the batting with Mayank Agarwal. The Bangalore boys have been consistently among the runs at the top of the order. At No 3, it would be Gayle and he would be followed by another West Indian in Nicolas Pooran.

Shah Rukh Khan will slot in at No 5 and he would be followed by allrounder Deepak Hooda, who can come in handy at the backend of the innings. Harpreet Brar and allrounder Moises Henriques would also be there as per Chopra. Ravi Bishnoi would be the only specialist spinner, while the fast bowlers would be Mohammed Shami and debutant Nathan Ellis.

“Looks like a good team right? The top 6 are done where Deepak Hooda can bowl as well so you look alright. Then you should take Hapreet Brar who can also bat well. You can pick one from Chris Jordan and Moises Henriques… but I like Henriques, the grounds are big here and I feel his bowling will work fine,” Chopra said on his YouTube channel.

Aakash Chopra’s Predicted XI: KL Rahul (c and wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Deepak Hooda, Harpreet Brar, Moises Henriques, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Nathan Ellis.