Kings XI Punjab lively outsiders in build-up to this year’s IPL

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With the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League upon us, Ladbrokes have been busy evaluating the chances of each respective team ahead of this year’s curtain-raiser between the Mumbai Indians and the Kolkata Knight Riders.

But while reigning champions Mumbai will be eager to start the defence of their crown on a positive note, there’s one side that will be quietly confident of dethroning Rohit Sharma’s men.

Kings XI Punjab put in an eye-catching performance during this year’s player auction and look cracking value at 5/1 to cause a shock and land a first IPL title.

Enlisting the likes of Mitchell Johnson, George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Virender Sehwag and Cheteshwar Pujara, the Kings XI have recruited smartly.

ESPNCricinfo described the team as conducting the ‘almost perfect auction’ and it’s an assessment that certainly rings true when you examine the Punjabi side’s beefed up squad.

Capturing Australian stars such as Johnson and Bailey highlights the King’s XI’s desire to field big-name players capable of winning matches on their own and it’s a strategy that could reap rewards.

Man-of-the-moment Johnson was in devastating form with the ball against England during the winter and should benefit from an extended break having missed Australia’s ill-fated World Twenty20 assault through injury.

And having helped Mumbai claim last year’s title with 24 wickets in 17 matches, the Aussie fast bowler appears set to bring that IPL-winning pedigree to his new side.

The Indians are 9/2 to become the second franchise to claim successive IPL crowns following Chennai Super Kings’ successes in 2010 and 2011.

Marquee signing Michael Hussey smashed 733 runs to land the Orange Cap in Chennai’s march to last year’s final and he’ll be a key player in their upcoming campaign.

Elsewhere, Royal Challengers Bangalore have been installed as the early 4/1 favourites having twice finished as tournament runners-up.

Prolific West Indies power hitter Chris Gayle has been retained by the franchise with Indian poster boy Virat Kohli once again leading his outfit into battle.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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William Geldart

William contributed to a number of online football blogs before finally finding his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow alongside the rest of the Ladbrokes News team. Now indulging passions for football, horse racing, greyhounds, boxing and political betting. Supports Wycombe Wanderers and can be spotted at various lower league and non-league grounds across the country.