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In the sweltering afternoon heat, the Delhi Daredevils had an optional practice session at the Palam ground ahead of their first match of the India leg of the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2014. With airplanes flying over the ground located near the airport, the players batted and bowled in preparation for their match against Rajasthan Royals at the Ferozeshah Kotla. Captain Kevin Pietersen, Dinesh Karthik, Quinton de Kock and Ross Taylor were amongst those who had a session in the nets ahead of their match on May 3.
Like any team in any tournament, the Daredevils are looking forward to playing at home. Speaking to the media later in the evening, Karthik said, “When it is your home ground, you try and win as many matches as you can at it. Even in the auction, you try and pick a team you feel has the best chances of winning you matches. But having said that, these days you need to pick teams, which are all-round, which can do well in matches, both home and away. Now that we have the home advantage, we should try to do as well as we can with the crowd support.”
When asked about the team’s expectations from the India leg, he said, “We expect to see some good crowd and some good support and we are looking to play some good cricket out here.”
The Daredevils have picked up the pace after a slow start to the season and are shaping up well as was mentioned by Quinton de Kock in an earlier interaction. When asked to analyse their chances going ahead in the tournament, Karthik observed, “It is a crucial phase of the tournament; if we can win a few games from here on and get some momentum going, that would be really good for us.”
Discussing the team’s composition and possible changes, he added, “We are going to sit down today or tomorrow morning and discuss what we have, but definitely, we are keen on seeing whether we need to play that extra medium pacer or spinner.”
DD will be without the services of Nathan Coulter-Nile. When asked about his replacement in the squad, Karthik replied, “We are looking at a replacement. I am not sure what the team authorities have thought, but we are looking at it. Now that Coulter-Nile is ruled out of the team, I am sure the captain, coach and myself will sit down, and along with the rest of the Delhi Daredevils support staff, we will figure out what we need and who we need.”
With the teams back in familiar conditions, the next few weeks might see some changes in the points table. When asked about his view on the same, the wicketkeeper-batsman said, “Could be. I am not going to rule that option out, but having said that, you know how the table changes no matter how the pitches are. In the whole of IPL, it goes up and down. We are really looking forward to a good one week.”
Two teams at the opposite ends of the spectrum – Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab – will clash in Match 22 of Pepsi IPL 2014. The defending champions MI had a completely forgettable tour of the United Arab Emirates, returning home without a point after five outings. However, their opponents, Kings XI Punjab, made the most of the short trip to the UAE by rolling over each one of their five opponents and are the only unbeaten team in the league.
MI have problems to address but will take comfort from the fact that they are back in familiar surrounds and at a venue where they were unbeaten last season. In their last match in the UAE leg of Pepsi IPL 2014, MI left it a little too late in their run-chase against SRH and fell short by 16 runs.
KXIP are riding high on confidence and will be fully aware that they have the chance to push for the top spot in the standings, which will give them a second shot at making it to the Final. In their last outing in the UAE leg, they recovered brilliantly – after conceding 20 runs in the first over – to restrict RCB to 124 runs and then chased down the target by the 19th over. While the batting line-up – led by Glenn Maxwell and David Miller – won the team the first few matches, KXIP will be glad that the bowlers have stepped up in the last couple of games. When
Saturday, May 3, 2014, 4 pm IST
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Mumbai Indians have scored in excess of 150 only once so far this season and the lack of runs from the batsmen must surely worry them. They need runs from the top order – and the onus lies on skipper Rohit Sharma to lead by example. The 27-year-old has scored 74 runs in five innings – which includes a half-century against the Chennai Super Kings – and he needs to ensure he bats for the majority of the innings.
Kings XI Punjab will look towards Glenn Maxwell, David Miller and Virender Sehwag to do the bulk of the damage with the bat. These three have scored 71 percent of the runs scored by their team this season.
Notes from Previous match
Mumbai Indians v Sunrisers Hyderabad: If MI look back closely at their match against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, they will know that they did not keep up the pressure despite picking up early wickets. When KL Rahul and David Warner started to put the SRH innings back on track, MI gave them too many easy runs at the start their association. In the first 50 runs of their (111-run) partnership – which came off 47 balls – there were 26 singles and six twos, and most importantly, only 14 dot deliveries. Among the items expected to be written in red are the form of the batsmen (four batsmen – including two in the top three – were dismissed for single-digit scores) and the form of Pragyan Ojha (who has conceded more than nine runs an over in three of the five matches so far).
Kings XI Punjab v Royal Challengers Bangalore: KXIP coach Sanjay Bangar will have reserved a pat for his bowlers who came back spectacularly – restricting RCB to 124 – despite conceding 20 runs in the first over. Among areas of improvement, KXIP will want steady starts from Cheteshwar Pujara and Virender Sehwag. They will also want more responsibility from their top order, which stumbled during their chase of 125.
Kings XI Punjab have a 7-5 win-loss record from 12 matches against the Mumbai Indians. Both teams held their respective home games when they met last season. While MI defended 174 successfully – to win by four runs – at the Wankhede Stadium, KXIP posted 183 on the board and restricted MI to 133 to win by a whopping 50 runs.
KXIP’s Shaun Marsh has incredible numbers in matches against the Mumbai Indians. In eight matches against MI, Marsh has scored a total of 400 runs (which include five half-centuries) at an average of 57.14!
Mumbai Indians won all their eight matches at the Wankhede Stadium in Pepsi IPL 2013.
Mumbai Indians will stay put at the Wankhede Stadium as they prepare to host the Royal Challengers Bangalore on May 6. Kings XI Punjab, meanwhile, head to their other home venue – Barabati Stadium in Cuttack – to take on the Chennai Super Kings on May 7.