After languishing in the bottom of the points table with just one win in the first half of IPL 2020, Kings XI Punjab are up and running, having won two on the trot, including a historic double Super Over win against defending champions Mumbai Indians, and now look to upset the table-toppers Delhi Capitals, who themselves will be heading into the game following a dramatic win against Chennai Super Kings last weekend.
But as the head coach Anil Kumble had said earlier, their position in the points table fail to reflect how they have performed so far in the league. They did control larger sections of the matches they lost in the first half, which included Super Over defeat at the start of their campaign in the UAE against Delhi, but failed to make the most in the crunch situations and hence crumbled under immense pressure. But with Chris Gayle's return to the playing XI, all seems to fine for KXIP who have noe dominated proceedings with the bat which largely depended on captain KL Rahul, hence his dwindling strike rate progression over the course of his knocks. Nicholas Pooran has shown his lethalness time and again but is yet to play a match-winning knock and the pressure is increasing on Maxwell the batsman, who is proving to be more useful as a spinner operating in the powerplay.
Capitals, on the other hand, finished second with as many points as Mumbai in the first half, but Rishabh Pant's injury left the struggling in the middle overs. Yet Delhi have looked strong under an inspired Shikhar Dhawan who scored his maiden IPL ton in the CSK game. Delhi, however, seems immensely depended on their bowling attack which has the likes of a pace duo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje along with a young Tushar Deshpande, and the spin combination of Axar Patel and R Ashwin.
While Prithvi Shaw needs to be back among the runs after a couple of ducks, his opening partner Dhawan elevating his game bodes well for the team that has won seven out of the nine matches it has played.
Axar has shown his utility not just with the ball but also with the bat. His three sixes off Ravindra Jadeja helped Delhi get over the line in the final over finish against CSK.
With an envious bowling line-up, Delhi have shown they can defend even below-par totals. Playing in the absence of an injured Rishabh Pant, time is running out for Ajinkya Rahane to make an impact.
The match went into a Super Over last time the two teams met and more than Delhi, KXIP will be hoping that it doesn't come to that again.
Kings XI Punjab: Lokesh Rahul, Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel, Mandeep Singh, James Neesham, Tajinder Singh, Chris Jordan, Karun Nair, Deepak Hooda, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Glenn Maxwell, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Sarfaraz Khan, Sheldon Cottrell, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Darshan Nalkande, Nicholas Pooran, Chris Gayle, Murugan Ashwin, Jagadeesha Suchith, Krishnappa Gowtham, Hardus Viljoen, Simran SinghBench
Delhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer (c), Kagiso Rabada, Marcus Stoinis, Sandeep Lamichhane, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Alex Carey, Mohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw, Lalit Yadav, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Tushar Deshpande, Rishabh Pant, Harshal Patel, Keemo Paul, Amit Mishra, Anrich Nortje, Daniel Sams.
Match starts at 7.30 pm.
(with PTI inputs)