Top v bottom in low-stakes match
Monday, May 19, 2014
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)
Not only are Kings XI Punjab top of the table, they also have a game in hand over second-placed Chennai Super Kings. In addition, of their four remaining matches, three are against the also-rans of the season, Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians.
Their first match is against a demoralised Daredevils, who are currently on a six-match losing streak. There isn't too much at stake in this match, as Kings XI are almost certain of going through to the playoffs even if they lose, and Daredevils are already out of the running this season.
What will be pleasing for Kings XI is that in their previous two matches, their totals didn't rely on their two standout batsmen, Glenn Maxwell and David Miller. Against Kolkata Knight Riders, it was Virender Sehwag who top scored with 72, while against Sunrisers Hyderabad, it was the unlikely duo of Wriddhiman Saha and Manan Vohra who provided the high-octane start to help mow down another 200-plus target.
Delhi Daredevils: LLLLL (completed games, most recent first)
Kings XI Punjab: WLWWL
Watch out for
Of all the players retained by franchises before the auction, Kings XI's decision to hold on to Manan Vohra was the most surprising. The decision made even less sense as he was kept on the bench for much of the season. He finally got his chance against Sunrisers last week, and showed off his talent by clouting a 20-ball 47 to jumpstart another successful 200-plus chase.
Manoj Tiwary has been on the fringes of the Indian team for several years now without ever nailing down a place. A lengthy injury lay-off kept him away from much of the current domestic season, and an indifferent start to the season resulted in him losing his place in the Daredevils XI. He's back now, and should get to play all three remaining matches after scoring an unbeaten half-century against Rajasthan Royals.
Stats and trivia
- Virender Sehwag (with 250 runs) is the top run scorer in Daredevils v Kings XI matches. He has scored all of those runs for Daredevils, but now plays for Kings XI
- Daredevils and Kings XI have been the two most expensive bowling teams in this IPL. Daredevils have conceded 8.47 runs per over, while Kings XI have conceded 8.20 runs per over. All other teams have, on average, gone for less than 8 runs per over.
"We haven't played with the confidence that some of the other teams have played. We have given too many runs at the death and have dropped catches."
Eric Simons, the Daredevils bowling coach, on where the season has gone wrong
Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo