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Confident Kings XI Punjab play struggling Rajasthan Royals in Mohali
By Arun Gopalakrishnan
Mumbai 04 May 2012
Match 48 of DLF IPL 2012 will see Kings XI Punjab square off against the Rajasthan Royals.
KXIP started the tournament slowly, but they’ve found their form as the tournament has progressed. They are now very much in the race for a place in the playoffs. David Hussey and co. have won three out of their last four matches and are placed mid-table with five wins from ten matches overall. They come into this contest after beating two formidable opponents; they defeated the Chennai Super Kings and the Royal Challengers Bangalore in away games, and will look to carry that momentum into this home game.
The Rajasthan Royals have lost a bit of steam after impressing in the early days of the tournament. They have eight points from ten matches and have finished on the wrong side in each of their last four matches (including in two last-ball finishes against the Chennai Super Kings and the Delhi Daredevils). With the race for a place in the playoffs getting close, Rahul Dravid’s team will realize that they need to start winning before other teams firm up their places in the top four.
Saturday, May 5, 2012, 08:00 p.m.
Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
David Hussey and Shaun Marsh are perhaps the two most important names in the Kings XI Punjab line-up – and for obvious reasons too. While the former is the most capped player and the leading run-getter in the Twenty20 format, the latter has been among the most consistent run-getters in the IPL.
While the attention has been on Marsh and Hussey, Mandeep Singh has maintained a low profile and scored enough runs to be his team’s highest run-getter. The 20-year-old has been used in a variety of roles and he’s scored runs almost every time he has gone out to bat.
Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Dravid and Owais Shah have been the top performers for the Rajasthan Royals this season. While Rahane currently holds the Orange Cap, Dravid and Shah are among the top ten run-getters this season. Given the kind of form they have been in, they will continue to be the key characters in the RR line-up.
Prior to this season, the head-to-head record between Kings XI Punjab and the Rajasthan Royals stood at 4-3 in favour of the latter.
That record swayed further towards the Royals after their 31-run win over KXIP earlier this season. In a high-scoring match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, RR (playing their first match of the season) posted 191 for four – thanks mainly to Ajinkya Rahane’s sparkling 98. They then restricted their opponents to 160 for nine.
The Rajasthan Royals have scored the most boundaries this season; they’ve hit 162 fours and 45 sixes in their ten matches.
In his two previous stints in the IPL (while playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders & Kochi Tuskers Kerala), Owais Shah had only scored 141 runs in eight matches. This season, he has almost doubled that tally – he has scored 280 runs in ten matches.
Rajasthan Royals’ next stop will be the education capital of India, Pune, where they will take on the Pune Warriors India on May 8. Kings XI Punjab, meanwhile, travel down south to take on the Deccan Chargers in Hyderabad later on the same day.
Kolkata Knight Riders all set to host Pune Warriors India at Eden Gardens
By Arun Gopalakrishnan
Mumbai 04 May 2012
Match 47 of DLF IPL 2012 will be a severe test of Kolkata’s loyalties. While the Kolkata Knight Riders (the home team) will be one of the teams in action, their opponents, the Pune Warriors India, will be led by Sourav Ganguly – the most famous cricketer to emerge from this part of the country.
The fortunes of the two teams are almost opposite to each other. The Kolkata Knight Riders sit second in league standings with 13 points from ten matches, while the Pune Warriors India are second from the bottom of the table and have eight points from 11 matches. KKR have been unbeaten for five matches, while PWI have lost four in a row and will be looking to arrest their slide in this contest.
Saturday, May 5, 2012, 04:00 p.m.
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
The two players who’ve had the biggest influence on Kolkata Knight Riders’ success this season are skipper Gautam Gambhir and spinner Sunil Narine. Gambhir has been KKR’s best batsman by a mile, while Jacques Kallis is the team’s second-highest run-getter and has scored half as many runs as his captain. Narine has done his job not only by picking up wickets, but by also strangling the opposition batsmen. The Trinidadian has picked up 12 wickets from seven matches and has only conceded runs at an economy rate of 5.53.
Though Robin Uthappa (323 runs in 11 matches) features in the list of top ten run-getters this season, he hasn’t quite made the impact that was expected from him. He will need to fire at the top of the innings, and hope the likes of Steve Smith (who has been very impressive in finishing the innings), Jesse Ryder and Michael Clarke can make bigger contributions. Keep an eye on Sourav Ganguly too; the PWI skipper is sure to have the crowd support behind him, and if he can turn in a special performance, it will only put his team in the driver’s seat.
Ashok Dinda has been PWI’s best bowler; like his skipper, he too will be playing on home turf – albeit for the visiting team – and will be keen to make a point or two in front of his home crowd.
In the only previous meeting between these KKR and PWI at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai last season, the former registered a convincing seven-wicket victory. After restricting PWI to 118 for seven in their 20 overs, KKR – powered by skipper Gautam Gambhir’s 54 – chased down the target in 16.4 overs.
The Kolkata Knight Riders have the best overall bowling economy rate among the nine teams in IPL 2012 – 6.92.
Pune Warriors India have lost 11 wickets to run-outs this season – the most by any team in IPL 2012.
Following this fixture, the Kolkata Knight Riders will travel to the national capital to take on the Delhi Daredevils on May 7. Ganguly and his boys will head back home to host the Rajasthan Royals on May 8.