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Kings XI Punjab have the chance to make Pepsi IPL 2014 their best ever season in the competition when they take on the Delhi Daredevils in the penultimate match of the league stage.
KXIP have won 10 of their 13 league matches so far – which equals their best performance in a season. In their most recent outing, against the Rajasthan Royals, despite the absence of two of their top players – Glenn Maxwell and Sandeep Sharma – KXIP registered a convincing 16-run win.
Delhi Daredevils, meanwhile, lost their eighth successive match when they lost against the Mumbai Indians in their previous outing. After bowling out MI for 173, DD found no momentum in their run-chase and finished 16 runs short. What was intriguing about DD’s run-chase was they had specialist batsmen at the crease for the entire duration of the run-chase – during which they lost only four wickets – and yet could not force the issue.
Sunday, May 25, 2014, 4 pm IST
Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
Glenn Maxwell has scored 34 percent more runs than KXIP’s second-highest run-getter. It is therefore no surprise that there will be plenty of eyeballs following him and there will be pressure on him to deliver. There’s this theory doing the rounds that he has a weakness against leg-spinners, after he’s been dismissed by that tribe of bowlers in his last five outings. However, the Australian was quick to dismiss the same saying that although he’d been dismissed by leg-spinners, he’d also scored at more than two runs a ball. On the bowling front, KXIP will need Sandeep Sharma to strike early; the 21-year-old struggled to swing the ball in his previous match – perhaps due to fatigue – and was given a break in his team’s previous match.
Delhi Daredevils are definitely a better batting side when compared to the resources they have in the bowling department. Their line-up has several batsmen who’ve achieved a lot of success at the international level. But the two players capable of running away with the game are skipper Kevin Pietersen and JP Duminy. Pietersen has played cameos in his role as opener, but needs to carry on and get a big score, while Duminy has flourished in the second-half of the innings.
Notes from the previous match Kings XI Punjab v Rajasthan Royals: Though the set batsmen did not carry on to post big scores, KXIP will take heart from the fact that every batsman hit the ball well and scored runs. On the bowling front, the bowlers bowled tidy lines and lengths – especially in the middle period when the RR batsmen found the boundary only once and added only 48 runs to the scoreboard. The ground fielding and catching was impressive too; despite having the luxury of defending 179 runs, the fielders did not let up, often diving and cutting off runs in the outfield. By conservative estimates, KXIP saved at least 15 runs in the field. The only concern for KXIP was the form of Beuran Hendricks, who bowled either too full or too short and was taken for plenty of runs. Delhi Daredevils v Mumbai Indians: On the field, DD did a fairly good job in pulling back their opponents, who had raced away to 100 after 10 overs. To pick up nine wickets in the second-half of the innings and concede only 73 runs was a feat that needs to be applauded. More so because this was the first time DD had dismissed an entire side this season. On the batting front, the batsmen just didn’t take enough chances; there were six overs in DD’s run-chase in which four or fewer runs were scored. DD could not afford so many quiet overs, especially given the asking rate was 8.88.
Kings XI Punjab have won 8 of the 13 matches they’ve played against the Delhi Daredevils so far in the IPL. In the most recent meeting, at Delhi’s Ferozeshah Kotla, they humbled the hosts by four wickets, as they chased down 165 in the final over.
At a stage when all teams have played 13 matches each, Kings XI Punjab have scored more runs (2308) and taken more wickets (81) than any other side.
Kings XI Punjab hold the record for the best batting performance in the powerplay overs this season; they scored 86 runs in their match against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Kings XI Punjab, who have already progressed to the Playoffs, await to know their opponent in the first of the Playoff matches – Qualifier 1, which is scheduled to be played at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on May 27. For the Delhi Daredevils, this is the end of the road; for the second consecutive season, they’ve finished at the bottom of the table and will go back to the drawing board, hoping to come back a better side next season.
Kings XI Punjab (20 points), Chennai Super Kings (16 points) and Kolkata Knight Riders (16 points) have already qualified for the playoffs. Three teams – Rajasthan Royals (14 points), Mumbai Indians (12 points) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (12 points) – are in contention for the remaining spot in the playoffs. Royal Challengers Bangalore (10 points) and Delhi Daredevils (4 points) are out of the race.
Yesterday’s two results have made the fight for the remaining spot in the playoffs even more interesting. It will now all boil down to the result of the last league match between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals tomorrow.
The equation for Rajasthan Royals is pretty simple. A win – even by the narrowest margin- will seal their place in the playoffs. If, however, Sunrisers Hyderabad win today and Rajasthan Royals lose to Mumbai Indians tomorrow, then all three teams will finish with equal (14) points and net run-rate will decide which team moves into playoffs.
Rajasthan Royals net run-rate is +0.247 as against Mumbai Indians’ -0.086 and Sunrisers Hyderabad’s -0.231. This means if Rajasthan Royals lose to Mumbai Indians by a small margin, they can still go through as they will remain ahead of other two teams on net run-rate. So, Mumbai Indians will need to win by a big margin to beat Rajasthan Royals on net run-rate. If they bat first and score 150, Mumbai Indians will need to win by 42 runs. If Mumbai Indians bat second, they will need to chase down a target of 150 in around 15 overs.
Sunrisers are also in contention for a place in play-offs, but their chances are very remote. Just to beat Mumbai Indians on net run-rate, Sunrisers will need to beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 32-33 runs. That will not be sufficient though, because a narrow win for Mumbai Indians will take Rajasthan Royals in to the play-offs as their net run-rate will better than both Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians. On the other hand a heavy win for Mumbai Indians will improve their net run-rate drastically putting them ahead of both Royals and Sunrisers on net run-rate.
For Sunrisers to reach playoffs, they will need to give Kolkata Knight Riders a royal thrashing and then hope that Mumbai Indians beat Rajasthan Royals by a margin that is neither too big nor too small. This is way too complicated. More over Mumbai Indians-Rajasthan Royals match being the last league match of the tournament, these two teams will have the advantage of knowing exactly what they need to do. So, Sunrisers’ fate is not in their own hands. They can only hope for the things to fall in place. In all likelihood, it will be either Rajasthan Royals or Mumbai Indians that will join Kings XI Punjab, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders in the playoffs.