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As Pepsi Indian Premier League 2014 approaches its business end, probabilities and mathematical calculations take centre stage with multiple teams looking to stay in contention for the Playoffs. The Mumbai Indians are one such side that will depend heavily on other teams’ net run-rates and outcomes to make it past the league stage. Currently placed second-last on the points table, MI’s chances are slim, and hence, they will look to win their remaining four games comprehensively.
The team has been practicing under the watchful eyes of their coaches and mentors over the last couple of days in Ahmedabad as they look to turn their situation around.
Speaking to the media ahead of their match against Rajasthan Royals, MI’s Corey Anderson reiterated the same thought. “It definitely would be tense and a pressure situation. Every match from here is important; it’s an easy equation and we have to win everything. A few things have to go our way as well. But if the rest of the games go our way, then hopefully, few things will fall in place, and I guess, the Playoffs are still an option.”
The one department that needs to click for MI is their batting. Their line-up will be facing Pravin Tambe and co. in Ahmedabad on Monday afternoon. When asked about their strategy to counter the leg-spinner, who has been posing questions to batsmen across the league, Anderson said, “We have got our own strategies. A lot of sides have good leg-spinners in their ranks. A lot of boys are floating around and have been doing a really good job for their teams this year. We have similar strategies for them. And a few of them, we are facing for the first time as well. We have quality spinners in our line-up also, who can help us out.”
Speaking about the team, he added, “The way Twenty20 games go, sometimes some guys come off and some don’t. On the bowling front, we have been pretty good, and with the batting, we could have done a little better in different situations. But sometimes, it takes one guy to have a good game and win. It is ifs and buts. But at the moment, we are going to focus on the next four games, and hopefully, get wins.”
One of the key bowlers for MI has been Lasith Malinga, who has been called up to his national side and will be missed by the Rohit Sharma-led team. Discussing the absence of the fast bowler, Anderson mentioned, “For any side it is a huge space to fill. Whoever takes the role, I am sure they will do a good job. We know our plans. We are starting to get into the latter stage of the tournament now. Whoever comes in, I hope they do a good job.”
Speaking about his own experience of playing in the IPL, he said, “It’s like nothing I have experienced before. The crowds are loud and it is a great atmosphere. To play against some of the best players from different countries is a good experience. It has been a good experience, and hopefully, it gets better if we can win the next games.”
The Delhi Daredevils have one last chance of giving their home fans something to cheer about when they take on Kings XI Punjab in Match 45 of Pepsi IPL 2014.
It has been a largely forgettable season for Kevin Pietersen’s team. With just two wins in 11 matches so far, DD are out of contention from making it to the Playoffs. In their most recent outing, they were decimated by the Rajasthan Royals, who posted 201 runs and then cantered to a 62-run victory. It is not that DD do not have the batting riches – they have plenty of proven and experienced players in the line-up – but unfortunately they have not fallen in place as well as they would have liked.
Kings XI Punjab, meanwhile, are having their best season in the IPL. They have won 80 percent of their matches and will now aim to be among the top two teams at the end of the league phase. The team has won most of their eight matches this season riding on the prowess of their batsmen; while all the focus has been on Glenn Maxwell, several others – Virender Sehwag, Wriddhiman Saha, David Miller, George Bailey and most recently Manan Vohra –have played their parts too. Even the bowling attack has looked menacing, with Sandeep Sharma spearheading the attack ahead of Mitchell Johnson, and the likes of L Balaji, Rishi Dhawan and Akshar Patel have complemented him almost every time.
Monday, May 19, 2014, 8 pm IST
Ferozeshah Kotla, Delhi
In these stressful times, Delhi Daredevils need an inspirational performance on the field. The two players capable of delivering such performances are Kevin Pietersen and JP Duminy. Pietersen is the team’s most experienced cricketer, and though he has not been at his best so far this season, he is capable of turning on the heat in challenging situations. Duminy has been the lone bright spark in what has otherwise been a disappointing campaign for DD. The South African had often made quick runs down the order and in the later overs. There were calls to promote him up the order. And when that promotion came around – against the Rajasthan Royals – Duminy only scored eight runs. Expect him to come out firing if he gets an opportunity to bat up the order yet again.
The numbers tell the story for KXIP; Glenn Maxwell has scored 517 runs in 10 innings at a mind-blowing strike-rate of 198.08. The KXIP batsman has dominated and destroyed bowling attacks like no other batsman this season. Apart from Maxwell, the Delhi crowd will also be rooting for one of their own – Virender Sehwag. The KXIP opener has looked in good touch, but has so far only managed one big score. The spectators at the Ferozeshah Kotla will be delighted if Sehwag gets going – even if he happens to be playing for the visitors.
Notes from previous match
Delhi Daredevils v Rajasthan Royals: It was an abject performance by DD. Their bowlers did not bowl in the right areas and came in for plenty of stick, bowling only 34 dot-balls in the innings, and conceding 26 boundaries. In a chase of 202, DD needed a good start and quick runs from the top order. That was not to be as the top two wickets only amounted to 30 runs and the highest score by a batsman in the top four was 17.
Kings XI Punjab v Sunrisers Hyderabad: Successfully chasing down 206 should not mask the areas where KXIP were found wanting in the match. The bowling line-up bowled nine extra deliveries, and in a T20 match where every run counts, KXIP will be glad those nine additional balls did not cost them the match. The bowlers did not hit the right lengths and generally bowled full; the 40 half-volleys or full-tosses cost the team a total of 114 runs. On the batting front, they will be glad that all their batsmen appeared to strike the ball well and did not cave under the pressure of a big run-chase. The biggest positives to take away were the batting form of Manan Vohra and Wriddhiman Saha, who were involved in a partnership of 91 runs (from 6.5 overs) and between them scored 101 runs from 46 balls.
By virtue of their wins in both league fixtures in Pepsi IPL 2013, Kings XI Punjab have extended their win-loss record against the Delhi Daredevils to 7-5.
Kings XI Punjab have been the most prolific at picking up runs through boundaries; they have scored 61.7 percent of their runs through hits to and over the fence this season.
The Delhi Daredevils have picked up the fewest wickets among all the teams this season – 40.
Delhi Daredevils will be seen in action next at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, where they are scheduled to clash with the Mumbai Indians on May 23. Kings XI Punjab, meanwhile, head back to the PCA Stadium in Mohali for their last three league fixtures of the season. They are scheduled to take on the Mumbai Indians next on May 21.