Kings XI Punjab need a win to seal their place in the playoffs © PTI
By Faisal Kamal
New Delhi: May 18, 2014
Languishing at the bottom of the points table, lacklustre Delhi Daredevils (DD) will look to restore some respectability to their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 campaign when they take on an in-form Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in their final league match at Feroz Shah Kotla on Monday.
Just managing two wins in 11 matches this season, the Kevin Pietersen-led Delhi have lost six of their previous games without putting up much of a fight. Pietersen, who was bought by Delhi for a whopping Rs 9 crore in the February auctions, has failed to inject any spirit in the GMR-owned outfit.
If inconsistent batting has let them down then the bowling department led by pacer Mohammed Shami has not helped either. Barring Jean-Paul Duminy, who features in the top-ten scorers list this IPL season, no Delhi batsman has managed to make a mark. The top-order comprising Quinton De Kock, Pietersen, Mayank Agarwal and Dinesh Karthik has tried to lift Delhi at times but with little success.
Their head coach Gary Kirsten and bowling consultant Eric Simmons have also failed to provide any answers to the team’s lacklustre showing. The think-tank though would be looking to forget the past and focus on their final three games of the tournament. With their backs to the wall, last-placed Delhi have nothing to lose, a position which sometimes works for a team lagging behind.
Punjab, on the other hand, are enjoying a dream run in this edition with orange-cap holder Glenn Maxwell providing perfect entertainment to the Kings XI fans. The solid Punjab batting order has successfully chased down 200+ scores twice in this edition so far and has looked the most promising outfit along with Chennai Super Kings. If Maxwell has been the force behind Punjab’s success, David Miller has also helped the George Bailey-led unit by his useful cameos.
The Australian batsman has accumulated 517 runs in 10 matches with four fifties, while South African left-hander Miller is also in the top-4 chart with three half-centuries. A collective effort though has been the key for Punjab’s success as one cannot overlook the efforts of their bowlers and fielders.
Domestic players have also made their presence felt for the Punjab unit with medium-pacer Sandeep Sharma, left-arm spinner Akshar Patel and all-rounder Rishi Dhawan turning in as impact players.
The Patiala-born Sandeep, bagging 14 wickets in eight matches, is not only in the top-10 bowlers list but has also been noticed by cricket pundits and former players, who predict a bright future for him. The Preity Zinta co-owned unit holds an edge over Delhi in the head-to-head count with a 7-5 advantage.
A distraught Delhi though will be hoping to give their fans a happy ending as they try to conquer ‘Mount Punjab’.
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