Preview: Desperate KXIP seek to win big

Kings XI Punjab will be desperate to get the better of Deccan Chargers AFP

By Jamie Alter

Dharamsala: May 20, 2011

When these two teams last played each other in Dharamsala, nestled in the Himalayas, Adam Gilchrist was captaining Deccan Chargers and Kumar Sangakkara was in charge of Kings XI Punjab. Today Gilchrist is leading KXIP while Sangakkara has departed for England after captaining DC for the bulk of the 2011 season. It can only happen in the IPL.

In April 2010, the two teams landed in Dharamsala in contrasting situations. KXIP had been ruled out of the tournament while DC were still afloat in the closes semi-final battle the IPL had seen. It isn t so tight a battle in 2011, but KXIP need to win their last match, though even victory won t guarantee their progression.

Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings have secured their places in the play-offs, leaving Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders and KXIP to square off for two spots. KKR s win over Pune Warriors on Thursday has given them 16 points, the same as MI. Gilchrist s team has 14, and if MI beat Rajasthan Royals today they will move up to 18 and qualify, thereby leaving KKR and KXIP to battle out for the last play-off spot.

KXIP s resurgence has been down to runs from the top order, namely Shaun Marsh, with Paul Valtathy contributing cameos. The turnaround started with an upset win over MI, after which Dinesh Karthik produced a dashing innings to down Kochi Tuskers Kerala. Valtathy and Marsh set up the win over Delhi Daredevils, and Gilchrist s stunning assault on RCB kept KXIP in the reckoning. Another big win over DC will lift KXIP spirits, but knowing that their fate still rests in the hands of other results can be an uneasy feeling to cope with.

DC will continue playing for pride, as they have done over the past week – they have won their last two games.

Teams:

KXIP (Probable): Adam Gilchrist (c&wk), Paul Valtathy, Shaun Marsh, Dinesh Karthik, Abhishek Nayar, David Hussey, Mandeep Singh, Praveen Kumar, Ryan Harris, Bharghav Batt, Shalabh Srivastava.

DC (Probable): Michael Lumb, Sunny Sohal (wk), JP Duminy (c), Bharat Chipli, Daniel Christian, Shikhar Dhawan, Amit Mishra, Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Anand Rajan.

Time: 16.00 local (10.30 GMT)

(Jamie Alter is a freelance cricket writer, having worked at ESPNcricinfo and All Sports Magazine. He is the author of two books, The History of World Cup Cricket and Field of Dreams: The Story of the Dr. DY Patil Sports Stadium. His twitter feed is @jamie_alter)