Punjab will seek to address shaky bowling and Delhi a belowpar batting in battle of teams in bottom half
:As Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab face off in IPL 2017 at the PCA Stadium on Sunday, stakes will be high for both the sides. Both were beaten comprehensively in the Friday double-header, by Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively, and a loss here can mean the race for a playoff berth will get harder.
Hosts Kings XI Punjab’s struggles have been worsened by the lacklustre performances of the bowlers. Shaun Marsh, who scored a 50-ball 84 on Friday night, conceded the team was outplayed in all three aspects of the game despite Sunrisers Hyderabad dropping a few catches.
Kings XI Punjab bowlers failed to check the flow of runs and in the end a target of 200 plus proved difficult to chase. Marsh waged a lone battle and threatened to take the game away from SRH briefly before the visitors reined in KXIP.
Ishant Sharma, who went unsold at the player auctions and was on way to England to play County cricket, was roped in by KXIP to bolster the pace attack. The most experienced bowler in the KXIP line-up started well, conceding just three runs in the opening over.
But things went downhill from there as SRH skipper David Warner and fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan helped themselves to quick-fire half centuries. In the end, Ishant Sharma, who is yet to take a wicket in IPL 10, conceded 41 runs from 4 overs.
Pace bowler Anureet Singh conceded 26 runs in two overs and spinners Axar Patel and KC Cariappa also went for plenty as Warner-dhawan and later Kane Williamson attacked the bowling.
In contrast, not only did SRH kept things tight, their bowlers kept striking at regular intervals. Against Mumbai Indians too, despite setting a target of 198, Kings XI Punjab lost by eight wickets with 27 balls to spare. Kings XI also missed in-from opener Hashim Amla due to a hamstring injury.
However, Marsh still felt hopeful of a turnaround. “We can do a quick change around against Delhi Daredevils. We just have to play better. The guys have been training hard and we can get on a bit of roll from Sunday,” the Aussie batsman said.
DD’S DODGY BATTING
If KXIP think tank frets over the bowling line-up for Sunday, the Zaheer Khan-led Delhi Daredevils, who have just two wins and are at the bottom of the table, will be worried about the top-order batting.
On Friday, with Sanju Samson (60) and Shreyas Iyer (47) batting well, Delhi Daredevils at one point looked good to post a target of over 180. But in the end 160 proved sub-par and KKR had little trouble in chasing.
Rishabh Pant has also played a couple of cameos, but till now the team has failed to fire in unison. A loss on Sunday may bring the curtains down on Delhi Daredevils’ campaign. For Punjab, a win might provide momentum but a loss will certainly dent their playoff chances.
Kings XI Punjab are sixth in the points table with six points from eight matches while Delhi are at the bottom with four points from seven games.