Where they finished in 2019: Sixth, tied on points with Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad (12 each), but behind both on net run-rate.
Potential XI: Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (capt & wk), Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Mandeep Singh, Sarfaraz Khan, K Gowtham, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammed Shami, Sheldon Cottrell, Ravi Bishnoi
Batting: If the Kings XI take the bold call of having a first XI without Chris Gayle, they might just achieve a better balance in the side. Their two best overseas batsmen are Nicholas Pooran and Glenn Maxwell, and they’ll need their other two overseas spots for bowlers.
A top order that has KL Rahul alongside Pooran and Maxwell is one that is capable of taking pitches and conditions out of the equation. Both Rahul and Pooran have the ability to shift gears seamlessly and bat deep, while Maxwell provides the ballast.
Sarfaraz Khan can be a powerful finisher too. He was in top form in the Ranji Trophy, and with the IPL originally scheduled right after that tournament, the timing was perfect. That he has the talent has never been in doubt, but it remains to be seen if Khan has managed to keep his fitness and training on track during the extended break. If he has, that batting line-up looks very powerful indeed.
The expected slowness of pitches in the UAE should not be as much of a factor for this Kings XI batting group that is adept at tackling both pace and spin.