Punjab aim to stay in contention
Match factsTuesday, May 15, Delhi
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Both Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab have three matches left in the league stage and two of them are against each other. Daredevils, who have risen to the top of the table on the back of glittering individual performances, will be the favourites. Kings XI, however, have stayed in contention for the playoffs by playing efficiently as a team. They have consistently won away matches - five in a row now - and cannot be taken lightly at the Kotla.
Kings XI's away success includes wins against all the higher-ranked sides apart from Rajasthan Royals and Daredevils. They have benefitted from consistent performances from young players such as Mandeep Singh and Parwinder Awana. Another local player, Gurkeerat Singh, surprised with his last-minute heroics against Deccan Chargers, as Kings XI pulled off their highest chase this season. The turning point for Kings XI has been the absence of Adam Gilchrist due to injury and the arrival of Azhar Mahmood, whose experience and all-round skills provided balance to the side. Since Mahmood's inclusion, the team has won five out of eight matches. They need to win all three remaining games to keep their qualification chances in their own hands, and it is hard to see Gilchrist coming back into a side that looks settled.
Top-placed Daredevils faltered twice in their last three games and their lead at the top of the league has reduced. Virender Sehwag also failed in these games and his form is crucial as they look to build momentum towards the playoff stage.
Form guide(most recent first, completed games)
Delhi Daredevils : LWLWW
Kings XI Punjab: WWLWW
Players to watch
Kevin Pietersen's departure disrupted Daredevils' batting unit but David Warner announced himself with a century in his second innings. Although he failed against Chennai Super Kings, Warner is always a match-winner
Mandeep Singh is the leading run-scorer for Kings XI this season and he has given solidity to the batting order. His consistency has reduced the dependency on Shaun Marsh and David Hussey.
Stats and trivia
- Kings XI's win over Chargers was their second highest chase in the IPL and the seventh overall.
- Marsh has been part of 22 Kings XI wins, in which he has scored 994 runs at an average of 62.12. Sehwag has scored 1266 in 34 Daredevils wins.
Quotes"We have two matches against Kings XI and RCB at home and hopefully we will win those to make it to the playoffs."
"He [Gurkeerat] is a real player for the future for us, made it look real easy. We showed our fighting qualities today. We got three big games, you never know, we could sneak into the finals,"
David Hussey after the win against Chargers
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.