Kings XI target bowling improvements
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Start time 1600 local (1030 GMT)
This is a faceoff between the two attacks that have leaked the most runs in the tournament. Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab are the only two teams in IPL 2014 whose bowlers have, on an average, conceded more than eight runs per over. Thankfully for Kings XI, their bowlers have also taken the most number of wickets in the tournament (77) and their batsmen have been prolific. Daredevils, on the other hand, have so far taken the fewest number of wickets for any IPL franchise in a single season (48). This is probably one of the major reasons why Kings XI are top of the table while Daredevils are languishing at the bottom.
Regardless of what happens in this match, those positions will not change with Daredevils already confirmed as wooden-spoon holders and Kings XI certain to finish as table toppers. However, apart from playing for pride, Daredevils will probably want to end the tournament with a win thereby ending their wretched losing streak. They have already lost eight games on the bounce, equalling their longest such streak. Another loss will make this the second worst losing streak in the IPL, with only Pune Warriors having lost more games in a row (11).
Kings XI Punjab: WLWWL (completed games, most recent first)
Delhi Daredevils: LLLLL
Where they stand
Kings XI Punjab: First, with 20 points from 13 games
Delhi Daredevils: Last (eighth), with 4 points from 13 games
After the previous meeting between these two sides, Kings XI became the fist team to confirm their playoff spot in IPL 2014. It was a game in which Kings XI showed the depth of batting talent in the side, as Manan Vohra and Akshar Patel top scored in a chase of 165.
Watch out for...
Shaun Marsh has been a consistent performer for Kings XI over the years and has made nearly 2000 runs in the IPL. This season, he was confined to the bench as the Maxwell-Miller pair became a hit. He was finally given an opportunity in the previous two matches as Kings XI rested Maxwell and Miller once each. He responded with solid scores of 30 and 40, the latter making him the Man of the Match against Rajasthan Royals.
The middle order batting (positions 3 to 7) of these two teams are among the best in IPL 2014. For all the problems that Delhi have had in this tournament, middle-order batting is not one. Three of Delhi's middle order batsmen - JP Duminy, Kedar Jadhav and Manoj Tiwary - have averages in excess of 35, while Dinesh Karthik has three 50+ scores in the tournament. The Kings XI middle-order batsmen have the highest batting average (36.97) and strike rate (151.29) for any team and have by far been the best in the tournament.
Stats and trivia
- Kings XI's win-loss record against Daredevils in the IPL is 8-5. The last time that Daredevils beat Kings XI was on 19 May 2012 and have lost three games since.
- Kings XI's fast bowlers have taken the most number of wickets in the tournament (58) while their spinners have taken the fewest (19).
- The top five run-scorers in games between Kings XI and Daredevils are Virender Sehwag (273), David Warner (245), Mahela Jayawardene (202), Shaun Marsh (201) and Dinesh Karthik (195). Three of these five batsmen - Sehwag, Jayawardene and Karthik - have played for both teams.
"What struck me first in that change room was how positive the vibe was. The team is struggling with the results and it has been very hard on everyone [yet there is so much positivity in there]."
Daredevils legspinner Imran Tahir on coming into a struggling team
"He helps me a lot. My action is a little different, so there isn't much that he tells me about that, but he talks to me about things like mental strength and other such areas."
Kings XI spinner Akshar Patel on the influence that Murali Kartik has had
Bishen Jeswant is a stats sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here.