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Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals – two teams brimming with confidence – take on each other in Match 55 of Pepsi IPL 2013.
KXIP come into this match at the back of an upset victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore. After RCB had posted 190 on the board, David Miller’s incredible century – 101 off 38 balls - helped KXIP to a convincing six-wicket victory. Not only did KXIP get the much-needed two points from the match, the margin of victory – winning with two overs to spare – helped them boost their Net Run Rate too.
The Rajasthan Royals meanwhile come into this contest at the back of convincing victories in their previous two matches at home. After chasing down 179 against Pune Warriors India, RR – powered by some pristine batting and half-centuries by Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane – chased down 155 in their most-recent match against the Delhi Daredevils. Unbeaten at home, RR will be aware that they need to improve on their away record this season; they’ve won only one of their five away matches so far. RR will be aware that there are five teams vying for three Play-Off spots and every victory could make a difference. When
Thursday, May 9, 2013, 4 p.m
Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
101*, 51* and 56 – these are David Miller’s scores in the last three innings. Apart from consistently scoring runs (and being the team’s top run-getter in the competition), the 23-year old has scored runs at an incredible rate of 173.39. Given the kind of form the South African is in, it will be interesting to see if KXIP push him up the order to bat at number three or four.
Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane have demonstrated this season that batsmen do not necessarily have to muscle the ball to score runs. Both the players have played strokes straight out of the coaching manual, yet have played match-winning innings regularly. As Paddy Upton, the Rajasthan Royals Coach, mentioned the other day, the enjoyment factor and not putting a very big price on the wicket, has resulted in both players playing freely. If Shane Watson, who has looked in good touch, but has not posted big scores in the last four innings, can join the pair, RR will have a formidable top order.
Among the bowlers, keep an eye on Praveen Kumar and James Faulkner. Praveen has been brilliant with the new ball – often keeping the runs down, while Faulkner has consistently picked up wickets.
Kings XI Punjab will be keen to improve on their record against the Rajasthan Royals. The two teams have so far met 10 times, and KXIP have only managed three victories while RR have won the remaining seven.
Apart from winning both their contests against KXIP last season, RR also defeated them earlier this season. When the two teams met at Jaipur on 14 April 2013, the visitors were bowled out for 124 and the hosts got past the finish line winning by six wickets.
Spinners have accounted for only six of the 48 wickets picked up by the KXIP bowlers.
Kings XI Punjab have picked up the fewest wickets of all the teams – 52.
Kings XI Punjab will continue to remain at home as they next host Sunrisers Hyderabad on May 11. The Rajasthan Royals meanwhile head back home to take on the Chennai Super Kings on May 12.
Coach wants team to ‘make hay while the sun shines’
By Shirin Sadikot
Mohali 08 May 2013
After straight losses against the three most star-studded sides in the tournament – KKR, MI and CSK –Kings XI Punjab came back to create one of the biggest upsets of the IPL when they chased down RCB’s 190 from a near improbable situation.
Now KXIP return home for two games, the first of which is against the in-formRajasthan Royals on Thursday. Ahead of the game, coach, Darren Lehmann, said the David Miller (101 off 38 balls) - inspired win over RCB has put the team high on the confidence pedestal.
“The last one was an outstanding win against a quality side and we’re high on confidence after that,” Lehmann said before quickly acknowledging RR’s fine form with their home wins.
“Now again we’re up against a side that has been in very good form. But it’s nice to be at home considering all teams’ home domination. We now have only one away game and the rest of them are at home. So, it’s time to make hay while the sun shines,” Lehmann said.
Considering Miller’s red-hot form and KXIP’s top-order inconsistency, it might not be a bad idea for them to promote the young South African at No.3. Lehmann said the team will look to bank on his versatility by using him to suit the situations.
“He can bat anywhere. It is just the way things have shaped up at the moment that he’s batting at five. He batted at four when we chased down 185 against Pune Warriors. It depends on the bowling attack and the match situation. But he can bat anywhere and still score runs.”
Miller has been a revelation this season and still only 23 years of age, he has ample time on his hands to carve out a successful international career for himself. Lehmann said the KXIP team takes pride in their policy of nurturing young talent.
“We like to promote youth and give them the chance. I think we have done that very well this year. Hopefully that stands us in good stead moving forward. You come here and become better experienced players as the year passes,” he said.
While the youngsters bring in flair and dynamism into the side, Lehmann feels they need to learn the art of clinching the big moments in a match, if the team are to dream of making the final cut. The win over RCB pleased the coach in that regard.
“We’ve probably played well 80 per cent of the times in most games but have missed out because we have failed to seize the big moments,” Lehmann said referring to KXIP’s six losses in the tournament so far.
“We’ve missed a catch here and there, or not taken our chances with the bat or ball. We haven’t been able to trust our plans right in those games, in crunch situations. However, I thought we did that really well the other night – against RCB. In the remaining games starting Thursday, we really need to make sure we get that 20 per cent right too,” the coach said.
To their next opposition, the former Australian batsman had some high praises to offer as he stressed the importance of putting the first foot right in the shortest format. “I think they’re a pretty good team unit. They’ve had a similar side for a while now and Rahul (Dravid) has done a pretty good job with the young team. In T20 what matters most is how to start the game and get on the top. So, whether we bat or bowl first tomorrow, we’ll have to begin well,” he said.