Kings XI Punjab in battle to stay afloat
Match factsMay 16, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Big PictureKings XI Punjab are still in this tournament, if only just. Having pulled off a giant-killing on Tuesday, handing Royal Challengers Bangalore their first home defeat of the season, they will be buoyant. Now they have to win again, and then win once more on Saturday against the might of the Mumbai Indians to have any chance of qualifying. Meanwhile, Royal Challengers will need to lose again, and Sunrisers will need to lose two in two.
Before Mumbai though, they have a less daunting task: the struggling Delhi Daredevils. Last year Daredevils finished the league stage as table-toppers. This year they are in danger of finishing rock bottom. Following their capitulation against Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday, their coach Eric Simons had pointed out that the most frustrating part of their campaign has been that they keep repeating the same mistakes, especially by losing early wickets.
He also said he is already looking at team combination for next year, when a complete overhaul of the squads could happen with all players scheduled to go into the auction (though it is more likely there will be a retention clause available to the franchises). The players will have that big auction at the back of their mind, as a decent finish to an otherwise abysmal campaign could be the difference between procuring a contract and going unsold.
Dharamsala had experienced heavy rain over the weekend, making the organisers wonder if the two games scheduled here would be affected. But, fortunately for Kings XI and the fans, the rain has blown over and the forecast for Thursday is clear.
Form guideKings XI Punjab: WLLWL (most recent first)
Delhi Daredevils: LLLLW
In the spotlightComing into IPL 2013, with the ever-reliable (in the IPL at least) Shaun Marsh injured, Kings XI Punjab would have looked to two players to carry their batting. The first was an IPL-winning captain in Adam Gilchrist. He failed to deliver early on, both with bat and gloves. When he was dropped Gilchrist said he was keen on leaving himself out, but the others in the team management wanted him to play on. After coming back, he has scored 42, 26 and 85*. He still looks far from his best, though, edging several times in that match-winning half-century against Royal Challengers. If he can produce anything near his best at this vital stage of the tournament, Kings XI should be in business.
Their other big hope would have been David Hussey, who was stand-in captain when Gilchrist sat out. Hussey is one of only three batsmen in the world with over 5000 Twenty20 runs to his name, and one of only two with over 200 T20 games. Kings XI, a franchise that is known to be a small spender, paid US$1.4 million for him at the 2011 auction. In this IPL, he has 235 runs at 23.50 in 11 innings, with a strike rate of 112.44. He was dropped for Kings XI's previous two games. Given the importance of the upcoming games and his immense experience, Kings XI might be tempted to play him. He'll be keen to live up to his reputation and price tag if given the chance.
Stats and trivia
- Kings XI Punjab lead the head-to-head against Delhi Daredevils 6-5
- Adam Gilchrist's unbeaten 85 against Royal Challengers was his second-highest score for Kings XI. His best score for the team also came against Royal Challengers, a century in Dharamsala in 2011
- Last year Morne Morkel took 25 in 16 games at 18.12, and was the leading wicket-taker at the end of the group stage. This year he has 6 wickets in eight games so far, averaging 46.16
Quotes"I was working real hard going into this game. One delivery that worked for me was the yorker - both with Gayle and other batters."
Delhi Daredevils take note, here's what Kings XI seamer Parvinder Awana will be looking to dish out more of following his success against Royal Challengers
"I've got a very clear understanding as to what an IPL or a T20 team should look like. It's actually quite interesting because it's not just the skills, but also the different personalities that are spread throughout the team. The fighters, the calm guys, the volatile ones. You need to get the balance right. We obviously have to think very hard about the make-up of our team for the next year."
Daredevils coach Eric Simons is looking ahead to the 2014 IPL auction already
Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo