Arun Gopalakrishnan in Mumbai 08 May 2013 - 09:37pm IST
Preview : Match 55 – KXIP vs RR
Teams look to better qualification chances
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.
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.