The match between Kings XI Punjab and Gujarat Lions can turn into a battle between two veteran fast bowlers — Dale Steyn and Mitchell Johnson.
The South African hit a low after struggling during the World Twenty20. He played in only two of the four Super 10 games, taking one wicket. South Africa did not qualify for the semis.
For his Aussie counterpart has retired from international cricket. At 34, one may argue that Johnson could have continued for a year or two in international cricket. But he went for lot of runs in the Perth Test against New Zealand in November and decided to retire from international cricket.
At his peak, Johnson was a threat to batsmen as he consistently clocked over 150kph and produced late swing. He has 313 Test wickets and 239 scalps in ODIs. Last year, he took 17 wickets in 14 games for Kings XI.
As he returns to play after five months away, questions on his fitness are sure to come up. KXIP skipper David Miller quelled all such doubts.
“We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but he is bowling quick and is strong. He is fresh and has been training hard and is looking forward to what he can bring to the team,” Miller said.
Johnson has been guiding young pacers in KXIP since 2014 and with Mohit Sharma, returning from a long injury lay-off, he will be looking to make an impact.
“He is an asset to the team and has so much to add, especially in guiding the young guys. He can be a great help to me also. He has been swinging the ball and there are a couple of swollen toes in the side,” said the South African batsman, pointing out that Johnson’s yorkers were still effective.