Kings XI Punjab v Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2011, Dharamsala May 14, 2011

Can Punjab remain in hunt for semi-final spot?

Match facts

Friday, May 15, Dharamsala
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)

Big Picture

After Indore, it's time for Dharamsala, which owns the most picturesque cricket ground in India, to make its IPL entry. Kings XI Punjab need to win all their remaining games to stay in the hunt for a place in the final four. Their captain, Adam Gilchrist, is familiar with this feeling. During his tenure as captain of Deccan Chargers, he had to lead his side out of the depths and take them to the semi-finals. He has to do it again. Back then, he was leading from front with the bat but he hasn't been able to reproduce that kind of form this year. As he himself put it, in a lighter vein, reacting to being hit on the helmet by a bouncer from Lasith Malinga, "He has come of age; I have just aged."

You can't rule him out yet but the onus shifts on to the other batsmen in the side to do the job - that might even allow Gilchrist to relax and re-discover some batting joy. There are couple of good signs for Punjab. Dinesh Karthik, who didn't have a great time with the bat in the first half of the tournament, has found his mojo and Shaun Marsh continues to be consistent.

Delhi struggled with Virender Sehwag and were absolutely listless without him. They are left with that eternal cliché in sport of 'playing for pride'. Only time will tell whether they have any fuel left in them.

Form guide (most recent first)

Punjab: WWLLL (sixth in points table)
Delhi: LLWLW (ninth in points table)

Team talk

Under pressure, David Hussey hit an unbeaten 21 to lend the finishing touches to Punjab's win over Kochi Tuskers. Will that knock give him some breathing space, or will Punjab consider David Miller or Ryan McLaren?

Roelof van der Merwe could replace Colin Ingram in the Delhi XI.

Predict the playing XIs for this match. Play ESPNcricinfo Team Selector.

In the spotlight

Venugopal Rao has always proved to be a valuable contributor with the bat. The crowd might not scream his name, the media might not shower their arc lights on him, the bowlers might not have sleepless nights thinking about him and yet, he has nearly always played the bit-part role really well.

It's amazing how consistent Shaun Marsh has been in Twenty20. He has ten fifties and one hundred from 26 games in the IPL. The technique is simple: he stays still on the leg-stump line, nearly always remains adjacent to the line and plays late. It has worked like a charm.

Prime numbers

  • Shaun Marsh has the highest average (51.31) in IPL history. Michael Hussey (49.83) comes second. With 11 fifties, he ranks third in the list of batsmen with most fifties
  • Adam Gilchrist comes third in the list of players with most matches as captain. He has played 51 matches as a leader; Dhoni is at the top with 55 games

The chatter

"It depends on the situation; I try and see the field - if I can get away with it, then I try all those silly shots."
Dinesh Karthik explains the catalyst behind his shot selection

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo