Patchy Warriors look to upstage Kings XI
Match factsSunday, April 21
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Big pictureWhen they clash on Sunday night, Kings XI Punjab and Pune Warriors will be looking to shake off their inability to shut out games, and an inconsistency to carry forward a winning momentum, which has placed both teams in the bottom half of the points table. For Kings XI, their batting has been a let-down, with the experienced batsmen failing to shoulder the responsibility of guiding an innings. Their performance can be evidenced from one telling statistic: after five matches, none of their batsmen have scored a half-century. It's a record they will be eager to erase. They will be buoyed by the arrival of Shaun Marsh, possibly Kings XI's most valuable player. In 42 IPL matches for Kings XI, Marsh has scored 1603 runs at an average of 45.80 and a strike-rate of 135.96 and, with his fitness issues behind him, should be an automatic pick for the game, as Kings XI try to get past their batting woes against a good bowling attack.
Pune have been patchy so far, following up a stunning victory against Chennai Super Kings with mediocre batting against Sunrisers Hyderabad. With the chase against Sunrisers under control, the Warriors batsmen, including Angelo Mathews, played some inexplicable shots to find themselves on the losing side and the middle order, in particular, needs to return to sensible cricket and back their top order better. Their next few fixtures are against top-billing teams and a win against Kings XI could help them gain some confidence going ahead.
Kings XI Punjab LWLLW (most recent first)
Pune Warriors LWLWL
Players to watchOne of T20 cricket's journeymen, Azhar Mahmood has emerged as the second-highest wicket-taker for Kings XI so far after Praveen Kumar. It's his batting, though, that Kings XI will need if they are to challenge Pune Warriors. He has scored 35 runs in four innings so far.
With his effective swing bowling, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been the leading strike bowler for Warriors, providing breakthroughs at the start of the innings. This season, he has picked up seven wickets at an economy-rate of 6.00 and has also impressed with his tactical nous while opening the bowling.
Stats and trivia
- In the five matches between the two teams, Warriors have won three times, while Kings XI have won twice.
- David Hussey is joint-second in the list of batsmen to score most ducks in Twenty20 cricket. Hussey has 14 ducks from 195 innings, behind Herschelle Gibbs (23 from 161)
Quotes"There are still plenty of matches to go this season. So, everyone in the team has to back each other moving ahead and pray for the best."
Warriors' Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo