As the league stage of IPL 2022 enters the last stretch, Punjab Kings and Delhi Capitals are neck and neck with six wins each from 12 games. On Monday, as they face each other, one of them will keep their playoff hopes intact, while the other will be pushed to the brink of elimination.
Both teams are coming off thumping wins. Kings beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by 54 runs, and finally seemed to have found their best XI and best combination. Jonny Bairstow has struck form after being moved to the top of the order, hitting fifties in the last two games. His blazing knock against Royal Challengers allowed Liam Livingstone to play himself in before going on an all-out attack.
Capitals crushed Rajasthan Royals in their previous outing. David Warner has been consistent for them, but they will be buoyed most by Mitchell Marsh's form. Against Royals, Marsh hit 89 off 62 balls, apart from picking up 2 for 25 from his three overs. Chetan Sakariya, too, stepped up in the absence of Khaleel Ahmed, registering figures of 4-0-23-2. They will, however, be expecting more from Anrich Nortje while keeping an eye on Prithvi Shaw's fitness.
In the news
Shaw has been discharged from the hospital where he was being treated after a bout of typhoid. He is currently recovering under the supervision of the Capitals' medical team. It's not clear if he will be available for Sunday's match.
There has also been no official update on Khaleel, who missed Capitals' previous game with a hamstring injury.
Delhi Capitals: 1 David Warner, 2 Prithvi Shaw/KS Bharat, 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Rishabh Pant (capt, wk), 5 Rovman Powell, 6 Lalit Yadav, 7 Axar Patel, 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Anrich Nortje, 11 Chetan Sakariya
Punjab Kings: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 4 Liam Livingstone, 5 Mayank Agarwal (capt), 6 Jitesh Sharma (wk), 7 Rishi Dhawan, 8 Harpreet Brar, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Rahul Chahar, 11 Arshdeep Singh
- Kings could tie Marsh up with spin. Since January 2021, he averages 25.85 against spin at a strike rate of 122.51. In the same period, his average against pace is 65.53 and his strike rate 150.53.
- Warner has been severe on Rahul Chahar, hitting the legspinner for 61 runs off 34 balls without getting out even once. So Kings could avoid introducing Chahar into the attack when Warner is at the crease.
- There doesn't seem to be a straightforward answer to how to stop Livingstone. Since the start of 2021, his lowest average (17.66) is against left-arm wristspin, while the lowest strike rate (133.11) is against left-arm orthodox spin. Capitals could take a punt on Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel against him.
Stats that matter
- Among those who have played at least six innings in IPL 2022, Jitesh Sharma (180.88), Livingstone (175.73) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (175) are second, third and fourth, respectively, in terms of the strike rate in the first ten balls faced. Only Dinesh Karthik with 185.26 is above them.
- Kagiso Rabada has dismissed Warner five times in 83 balls. But Warner has taken 124 off him, at a strike rate of 149.39.
- Kuldeep has dismissed Shikhar Dhawan twice in 37 balls while giving away only 34 runs.
- Mayank Agarwal has scored only 36 runs off 43 balls against Axar but has never been dismissed by him.
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo