Australian power hitter Glenn Maxwell will be the pivot around which Kings XI Punjab’s wheels will turn. Courtesy: Twitter
GLENN MAXWELL: The Australian power hitter has returned to Kings XI Punjab, the franchise he played for from 2014 to 2017. The explosive limited-overs man will be the pivot around which the team’s wheels will turn. The first year that Maxwell turned out for them, KXIP went all the way to the final, where they lost to KKR. Since then, the team has underperformed. Will the 31-year-old spark a revival?
ANDRE RUSSELL: When he is on song with the bat, Andre Russell, widely regarded as T20 cricket’s most impactful player, possesses the ability to stamp his authority on a match. Kolkata Knight Riders will obviously hope that the 32-year-old Jamaican allrounder will carry last year’s form into the latest edition. With the ball, too, Russell is no mean force. He chips in with wickets at crucial junctures.
ROHIT SHARMA: The Mumbai Indians captain is among the classiest batsmen in the Indian Premier League. He can be destructive when he changes gears but his stroke-making never loses its elegance.
Rohit Sharma is IPL’s third highest run scorer after Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina, with 4898 runs under his belt. He has led MI with distinction since 2013. The team has won all its four titles (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019)) under Sharma’s captaincy.
QUINTON DE KOCK: The South African wicket-keeper and limited overs captain will in all likelihood be Rohit Sharma’s opening partner. Apart from the fact that Quinton de Kock is solid behind the stumps, his contribution to the team’s cause upfront as a batsman could prove crucial as Mumbai Indians seeks to defend the IPL title this year. If Keiron Pollard, another big star of the IPL, gets going along with de Kock, there will be no stopping the Mumbai franchise.
RASHID KHAN: The 21-year-old Afghan leg-spinner is one of the key players in the Sunrisers Hyderabad ranks. The world’s top T20 bowler was the team’s key performer with the ball in 2018, when SRH reached the final.
In addition, Rashid Khan is no rabbit with the bat and is a great outfielder. For fans of the franchise, he will be the player to root for. Although the youngster started out only in 2017, he is already a seasoned campaigner having also played in the Caribbean Premier League and the Big Bash League.
DAVID WARNER: The hard-hitting Aussie, back as the captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad this year, has been one of the most consistent IPL performers. At the top of the order with Jonny Bairstow, he will be expected to have another productive season. Since his IPL debut in 2015, David Warner has scored over 500 runs in every season, winning the Orange Cap thrice. The SRH mainstay is an entertainer par excellence. When he’s around, there is nary a dull moment.
VIRAT KOHLI: Royal Challengers Bangalore may not have yet won the IPL title but the team is always in the running because it is led by Team India captain Virat Kohli. He and his boys are due for a big season and fans of the franchise will be expecting them to hit a purple patch at IPL 2020. Virat Kohli is rightly considered one of the greatest batsmen playing the game today. But he has to come good if RCB is to end a 12-year drought.
AB DE VILLIERS: One of Kohli’s likely opening partners, the South African stalwart is nothing if not an extraordinarily destructive batsman. Although he has not been involved in international cricket for a while, he can, on his day, single-handedly turn a game around in a way few players in the IPL can. AB De Villiers will share much of Royal Challenger Bangalore’s batting workload with Virat Kohli and Aaron Finch.
JASPRIT BUMRAH: The Mumbai Indians bowler will, with Trent Boult, form one the most fearsome pace pairs in the IPL. Jasprit Bumrah, who made his IPL debut in 2013, is today regarded as one of the best bowlers in the T20 format. He has over IPL 80 wickets in his kitty.
Expect him to cross the 100-mark this year.
MARCUS STOINIS: Perennially struggling to get their act together, Delhi Capitals will bank upon the Australian allrounder to turn things around for them this season.
Marcus Stoinis has been in fine form of late, pulling his weight in the side against England and in the Big Bash League for Melbourne Stars. If he continues in the same vein, Delhi Capitals will prove a handful for most opponents in IPL 2020.
Saibal Chatterjee, well-known sports commentator, writes exclusively for Gulf Today
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