Pressure on Gilchrist to deliver

Kings XI Punjab must have thought hard and long when skipper Adam Gilchrist announced last year that his team’s match against Delhi Daredevils at Dharamsala would be the last in the Indian Premier League.

Fortunately for them, Gilchrist has changed his mind and will continue to lead the side in the sixth edition of the IPL. While Kings XI Punjab have not been able to replicate their 2008 performance when they finished third under Yuvraj Singh, they have been consistent in their approach and have shown glimpses of a side worthy of winning the title. That might take some doing but it looked like the Punjab-based side is doing all the right things to boost its chances. They have bolstered their bowling line-up -- already comprising the likes of Praveen Kumar, Piyush Chawla, Harmeet Singh, Ryan Harris -- by bringing in a couple of promising youngsters -- India under-19 World Cup star Sandeep Sharma and Manan Vohra -- while they will be hoping Manpreet Singh Gony -- on whom Kings XI splurged Rs 2.7-crore spent on during the auction -- replicates his efforts of the first season with Chennai Super Kings.

As far as their batting is concerned, Kings XI feature as good a line up as there can be. With Gilchrist and Shaun Marsh in the fray at the top of the order, Kings XI are well equipped. The addition of an embattled Luke Pomersbach could help their cause but the left-hander is not particularly a safe bet when the chips are down even if he can change the scheme of things in a matter of a few overs with his controlled pyrotechnics. And then of course, there is Paul Valthaty. The 29-year-old right-hander hogged the limelight in the 2011 season but has failed to deliver such performances since.

The one thing Kings XI will be proud of is an array of all-rounders at their disposal. From Azhar Mahmood, who shone for them last year, to Dimitri Mascarenhas and David Hussey, they have the ability to be game-changers.

If Kings XI manage to get it all come together to go with a slice of luck, they are surely are a team to beat.

Game changers: Adam Gilchrist, Shaun Marsh

Best performance: Third (2008)

Worst performance: Eighth (2011).

The squad: Adam Gilchrist (capt), Sha­un Marsh, Mandeep Singh, Paul Valthaty, David Hussey, S Chitnis, Nitin Saini, Sunny Singh, Manan Vohra, Azhar Mahmood, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Gurkeerat Singh, David Miller, Luke Pomersbach, Piyush Chawla, Ryan Harris, Praveen Kumar, Bhargav Bhatt, Aniket Choudhary, Manpreet Singh Gony, Harmeet Singh, Sandeep Sharma.

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