IPL 13: Kings XI Punjab eager to see new dawn in KL-Kumble era

first_imgKOLKATA: Perennial underachievers Kings XI Punjab will hope the new pair of skipper K.L. Rahul and head coach Anil Kumble can conjure up some magic as they head into the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), having reached the playoff stages of the cash-rich tournament on just two occasions.Rahul, who has been in red-hot form for India in white-ball cricket in the recent past, was appointed as skipper ahead of the season with former India captain and legendary off-spinner Kumble pencilled in as head coach. “I have always enjoyed that leadership role and I have always enjoyed having responsibility on my shoulders. I am going into this (IPL) with an open mind and to learn on the go from each game and each day,” Rahul had told IANS in a recent interaction from Dubai. The camaraderie between Kumble and Rahul, with both coming from Bengaluru, should also help the team. “Knowing KL and other players from the past obviously helps understand each other really well. I have seen KL from a very young age as a player. This will be his first major (captaincy stint) – he’s captained at a junior level, but not in a high profile game. So far he has been brilliant,” Kumble had said. Kings XI look strong on paper this time, but that has always been the case for the side in red who previously too had players like Glenn Maxwell, Chris Gayle and David Miller of more than decent T20 repute. With Gayle and Maxwell still with them, there should not be a shortage of firepower. Kumble has said he would like the ‘Universe Boss’ to be more active as part of the leadership group. At the top of the order, Mayank Agarwal should give the team solidity with the likes of Mandeep Singh and Karun Nair there to back up. Rahul has been in terrific form of late for India and Kings XI will hope he continues in the same vein, with the added motivation of leading the team to a title in the 13th attempt. In the bowling department, India pacer Mohammed Shami will lead the pace battery with the likes of England seamer Chris Jordan, West Indies’ Sheldon Cottrell and New Zealand all-rounder James Neesham for support. The Indian battery of promising Ishan Porel, Darshan Nalkande and Arshdeep Singh will also lend support. Afghanistan leg-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman will provide top-quality spin option in UAE conditions which could have turn. Kings XI also have Murugan Ashwin, Krishanappa Gowtham and Ravi Bishnoi in the spin department. The side reached the playoff stages in 2008 and 2014. Kings XI have an enviable record in the UAE, having not lost a single game out of five matches during the 2014 edition when the first 20 matches of the tournament were staged in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah because of the general elections in India. Strengths : The team’s fortunes will depend heavily on Rahul and Kumble’s partnership and how they lead the team who will always feel the pressure of being one side in the competition with the tag of ‘laggards’. Rahul’s exceptional form and a cool head should help him as a leader and batsman, and in turn benefit the team. Weaknesses: Kings XI have always had a side to win the IPL but never really clicked as a unit. The pressure of having their backs to the wall and having to deliver at any cost might lean a bit too heavily on the players and can play a part in the team’s performance. Squad: KL Rahul (captain and wicketkeeper) Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Sheldon Cottrell, Ishan Porel, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Arshdeep Singh, Hardus Viljoen, M Ashwin, J Suchith, Harpreet Brar, Darshan Nalkande, Glenn Maxwell, James Neesham, Chris Jordan, Krishnappa Gowtham, Deepak Hooda, Tajinder Singh Dhillon, Nicholas Pooran (wicketkeeper), Prabhsimran Singh (wicketkeeper). Support staff: Anil Kumble (head coach), Andy Flower (assistant coach), Wasim Jaffer (batting coach), Jonty Rhodes (fielding coach), Charl Langeveldt (bowling coach), Andrew Leipus (physiotherapist), Adrian Le Roux (strength and conditioning coach). (IANS) Also Watch: Cyclist Dies in Road Accidentlast_img read more

Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan: Odds, expert pick and how to bet on fight

first_imgTerence Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) and Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) will clash on Saturday night for Crawford’s WBO welterweight championship at Madison Square Garden in New York City.And when there are two highly regarded gladiators prepare for combat, there are bets to be made. So, let’s take a closer look at Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan. It’s hard to imagine Khan changes his stripes. You can alter your style, but Khan typically hasn’t in the big moments. Facing Crawford is the fight he’s been looking for at welterweight. He’s not going to be content by trying to outbox Crawford. He’s going to work for the knockout. Crawford will be more than happy to oblige and turn this into a slugfest. A Khan stoppage can happen, but it’s hard to go against Crawford. I would place a wager on Crawford finishing Khan in the second half of the fight after getting a feel on him.SN Pick: Terence CrawfordBest Wager: Crawford winning in rounds 7-12; 5Dimes (+150). Khan by TKO/KO; 5Dimes (+2493). MORE: Watch Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan on FITE.TV Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan odds, expert pickOnline sportsbook proboxingodds.com has named Crawford as a sizable favorite (as of April 16). The logical theory is oddsmakers regard Crawford as one of boxing’s best and Khan as the fighter who is long in the tooth and has seen better days. Crawford comes in at minus -2000, which means you’d need to wager $2,000 to win $100. Meanwhile, Khan is a plus +1200, meaning if you bet $100, you’d net $1,200. The odds have risen for Khan, as they originally had the Englishman coming in at +500.Crawford hasn’t missed a beat since moving to welterweight after reigning supreme in the junior welterweight division in which he became the undisputed champion in August 2017. He made mincemeat of Jeff Horn in his welterweight debut in June 2017 to capture the WBO belt and then went on to systematically break José Benavidez Jr. and finish him with 18 seconds to go. Boxing fans around the world wanted Crawford to battle IBF titlist Errol Spence Jr. Instead, Spence went on to take on Mikey Garcia in March. So, Crawford shifted his focus to Khan.Khan enters one of the biggest fights of his career on shaky footing. The former unified junior welterweight world champion was soundly beaten by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, losing by a vicious knockout in the sixth round. He went on to take a nearly two-year hiatus from the sport. Khan returned in May and blasted out Phil LoGreco in 39 seconds.The 32-year-old followed it up with a unanimous decision win over Samuel Vargas in September. Even though he dropped Vargas on two occasions, the bout didn’t come without a struggle. Vargas sent Khan to the canvas in the second round and also had him in some trouble in the sixth and tenth rounds using a sound body attack. But Khan still did enough to bring home a victory.MORE: Crawford vs. Khan: Fight time, PPV price, how to watchThere are two intriguing bets to watch out for as well: Crawford winning in rounds 7-12 and Khan winning by TKO or KO. Current odds have Crawford stopping Khan in rounds 7-12 at +150 and rising slightly. Put some money on this before it’s too late and the odds start to lower. Crawford has finished eight of his last nine opponents, stopping five of them after the sixth round. Khan is known in the boxing circles of having a weak chin, evidenced by getting knocked down by Vargas and getting knocked out cold by Alvarez, Danny Garcia, and Breidis Prescott.Current odds of Khan winning by TKO or KO are currently at +2493 and rising. Many feel Khan is the biggest name and test in Crawford’s dominant run in the sport. Along with his 20 wins by stoppage, Khan possesses some of the quickest hands in boxing. We have never seen Crawford take a hard shot to see how well his chin can hold up.Khan needs to come out and put on the performance of his life. When the lights have shined the brightest, Khan has underwhelmed. He has the skill and ability, as evidenced by being a former unified world champion at 140 pounds. Khan is reunited with Virgil Hunter as his lead trainer after the famed main charge to leave Khan’s camp due to health issues. Together, they are 5-1; having a world-class trainer like Hunter back in the fold could be the key to unlocking Khan’s true potential.While Crawford’s accomplished a lot, this is the biggest fight of his career. The knock on “Bud” has been that he’s never faced a marquee name. The 31-year-old changes all of that on Saturday in the No. 1 media market in the country.MORE: Kell Brook jabs Khan over Crawford boutCrawford needs to continue being himself and not get caught in the hype surrounded the fight. He needs to use to his superior footwork to allow him to throw from unique angles that will get him to the inside so he can capitalize on his power advantage. Khan has to keep the fight on the outside and stay out of Crawford’s range. If Khan can effectively utilize the jab and make it his top priority (and only go on the inside in short spurts), he can make it a comfortable night at the office. That has been the Achilles heel for Khan in his last couple fights. He gets easily goaded into a fire-fight, and it hasn’t always worked out well for him. Fighting safely and smartly is Khan’s best key to success. last_img read more