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Match 6 of the Pepsi IPL 2013 will give us a first look at Kings XI Punjab. The Mohali franchise, which finished last season sixth in the standings, start their IPL VI campaign with a fixture against the Pune Warriors India.
KXIP, who were semi-finalists in the inaugural season but haven’t finished among the top four teams since, will be looking to make a fresh start this time around. Their opponents, Pune Warriors India, will still be hurting from their 22-run defeat in a small run-chase against the Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday night. Allan Donald’s team will be keen to wipe out that match from their memory and will be aware this match presents them a great chance to get their first points on the board given that they will be playing in the familiar surrounds of their home ground.
Sunday, March 6, 2013, 4 p.m
Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, Pune
Both teams have numerous batsmen with lofty reputations and hence the key to success in this match will be for the batsmen to fire. Pune Warriors India will expect their top order to fare better than they did in the previous match. Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey and Marlon Samuels batted for half the team’s overs but only contributed 44 runs. They will hope for a better contribution from the top order, before the middle order comprising the dangerous Yuvraj Singh and Ross Taylor can flourish towards the end.
Kings XI Punjab will look towards their skipper Adam Gilchrist and the experienced David Hussey to score big. The team will be missing the services of their prolific run-getter Shaun Marsh, who is nursing an injury and is only likely to be available in a couple of weeks time. A lot will also be expected of Indian batsmen; Mandeep Singh and Nitin Saini are known to be dangerous batsmen, and they will be expected to complement the likes of Gilchrist, Hussey and Azhar Mahmood.
Pune Warriors India will have fond memories of playing against Kings XI Punjab for they’ve beaten them in three of the four meetings. In the two meetings last season, both teams won their respective home fixtures; while Pune Warriors India registered a 22-run victory in their backyard after posting 166 on the board, Kings XI Punjab registered a comprehensive 7-wicket victory at Mohali after bowling out the visitors for 115.
Pune Warriors India will be keen to improve on their home record; they’ve only managed to win two of their 8 matches at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune.
David Hussey is among the top three run-getters in the T20 format. Only Brad Hodge and Chris Gayle have scored more than him in the 20-over format.
Kings XI Punjab will head back home to host two-time champions Chennai Super Kings on April 10, while Pune Warriors India will play their second home game of the season when they take on the Rajasthan Royals on April 11.
In their first home game of the season the Delhi Daredevils will be facing off against the Rajasthan Royals at the Feroz Shah Kotla in the first afternoon game of the Indian Premier League 2013.
After a heartbreaking loss to defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders in the tournament opener the Daredevils will be looking to open their account in the points table. However the side is fraught with injuries to key players like Virender Sehwag and Kevin Pietersen, both of who will be unavailable for the game against the Royals’ as well. Speaking about Sehwag’s injury status, David Warner told the media, “Viru is not playing tomorrow. He is getting a lot of physio treatment but he has improved a lot from the last time.”
“We have got a lot of injuries (to players) but we have got a very good team on the park. I think that other night we lost too many wickets playing some silly shots. Hopefully we can improve on that and some missed chances in the field as well. Lot of balls went through our hands, we have to improve on that. We have got to play to our plan, come out and bat, bowl and field as well as we can and win the game.”
While talking about negotiating spin bowling Warner said, “Instead of playing the shot we got caught at the crease and that’s what happens in cricket. Hopefully we can improve as a team tomorrow and put some more runs on the board if we bat first and if we bowl first we can chase down as a batting unit.”
Asked about the increased responsibility in absence of the likes of Sehwag, Warner stated, “There is lot of responsibility on every person in the batting line-up. We all have to score runs. It is not about any individual players, we do have a lot of fantastic players in the side. But it is important for one of us guys to step up and get in the lime light. Hopefully one of our top four can score big runs throughout the tournament and that is the key to success of a batting unit.”
“For me it is to get us off to a good start and then try to get to the last five overs and that’s the responsibility I have with lot of the players here.” Emphasising on the role of the top-order and the significance of one of them seeing the team through the end he said, “It is our goal that one off the top four to be there till the end whether it is 70 off 50 balls or whether in the last over you are 100 off 60 balls we need someone in the top four to be there till the end.”
Asked if fielding was also a cause for concern, Warner said, “It is not a concern at all. I think we are all capable of fielding the ball. When a bowler bowls an over, a good over and if the ball comes to him he is going to pick it up but sometimes if he doesn’t bowl a good over and he might fumble it (while collecting the ball) because it is in the mind. It is all in the mind. We are all good fielders we have seen people like Irfan (Pathan) and Umesh (Yadav) and (Shahbaz) Nadeem, they have all got good hands and that’s what you need in this game. The other night was just a bad night for us in the field and we will improve on that.”