Punjab in need of inspirational turnaround
Match factsSunday, May 8, Mohali
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
There's not much breathing space left for Kings XI Punjab, and given the way their previous four games have panned out, each ending in a defeat, they don't seem too far from heading the Pune Warriors way. With seven defeats in a row, Pune are virtually out. They still have five games to go, and with almost nothing to lose are capable of wrecking a dream or two before they finish their quota.
Punjab could be one of the teams at the receiving end of Pune's promised latent aggression if they don't get their act together. They've had trouble containing the opposition this tournament, and the latest in a series of such instances was Chris Gayle's murderous assault in Bangalore which left them utterly shell-shocked. A quick recovery's the only way forward for them; with several other teams much better-placed to fight it out for a place in the play-offs, Punjab need an inspirational turnaround to match them.
Form guide (most recent first)
Kings XI Punjab: LLLLW (ninth in points table)
Pune Warriors: LLLLL (tenth in points table)
"He'll have to train before he can play," Yuvraj Singh said about Pune's newest recruit, Sourav Ganguly, during the team's previous game. He would have had around three days to do that. Enough to give him a go? Callum Ferguson is yet to play, while some Indian players sitting on the bench could also be tested out.
The bowling's been a worry for Punjab, and the figures grew worse in the wake of Gayle's onslaught in Bangalore. Piyush Chawla has picked up wickets but has been expensive. Punjab left out Bipul Sharma and Bhargav Bhatt from their previous game, and they could be tempted to bring one of them back as a left-arm spinning option.
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In the spotlight
Yuvraj Singh has presided over a disappointing campaign for Pune in their debut season, though his own performances have been fairly consistent. He's moved places within the middle order on quite a few occasions, and should come higher up to get more time to bat, and that too on a ground he knows best.
Abhishek Nayar, an allrounder, has had little impact with the bat. He's made 0, 14 and 1 in his previous three innings, his latest knock coming at No.3. He's been an important part of the Mumbai domestic team, but needs to step up in this IPL.
- Rahul Sharma, who had figures of two for seven in four overs in his previous game, has the second-best overall economy rate this IPL - 5.27 in nine games, behind Bipul Sharma's 5.16 in two matches
- Adam Gilchrist and Robin Uthappa are tied third in the list of most matches played in the IPL overall - 54
The chatter"Hopefully, he will get us a win. It's good to have him back. I just feel someone who has been captain of Indian team for a long time can always help the youngsters."
Yuvraj Singh on Sourav Ganguly
Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo