The number two team takes on the team last on the points table as the Kings XI take on Delhi. The Kings have won their previous three games, while Delhi has only won one of their five matches so far. Time is running out for them, considering they need to win at least 6 out of their remaining 9.
The Kings have been unstoppable with KL Rahul and Gayle at the top, who have been exceptionally consistent so far. Delhi’s team has just not been firing this season, and they run the risk of surrendering meekly in yet another season of the league. Can they cause a major upset, or will KXIP get their fourth consecutive victory?
Kings XI Punjab
Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, Lokesh Rahul, Chris Gayle, David Miller, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Rajpoot, Manoj Tiwary, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Barinder Sran, Andrew Tye, Akshdeep Nath, Ben Dwarshuis, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar, Manzoor Dar.
Shreyas Iyer, Chris Morris, Rishabh Pant, Glenn Maxwell, Gautam Gambhir (c), Jason Roy, Colin Munro, Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra, Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Daniel Christian, Jayant Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Trent Boult, Manjot Kalra, Abhishek Sharma, Sandeep Lamichhane, Naman Ojha, Sayan Ghosh, Liam Plunkett.
Where the teams stand
Kings XI Punjab
The opening batsmen for Punjab have made quick work of every bowling attack they have faced so far. KKR were the latest team to be victims of this carnage. Gayle is the fourth highest run-getter of the season already, while KL Rahul is sixth on the list. The next highest scorer is Karun Nair, who has scored 140 odd runs in the five games. Punjab are running a slight risk of being over-reliant on their openers, but they do have the batting to cover for any surprises. Finch, Agarwal, and Nair form a solid middle order despite the struggles of the former two so far. The Kings have also been the most successful team with the bat in the power play overs so far, and it is no surprise. Yuvraj’s spot still feels like a wasted opportunity considering it could go to someone more deserving, but Aswhin has refrained from dropping him. Overall, teams will find it hard to get beyond the first two, but if they do, it could be game on. Finch already has two golden ducks to his name, while Agarwal has been far too consistent in throwing away starts. Much rests on Gayle and KL.
Punjab’s bowling continues to be leak, with the same culprits every time. However, with their top order, they could concede 250 and those two will find a way to chase it down. Spin has been the strength for Punjab, especially since the captain is in the thick of it. India’s newest leggie has been successful as captain and bowler, juggling the roles well. Mujeeb has been very economical, but the pacers have been expensive. As always. It will be interesting to see if Delhi can exploit this, but their recent batting should discourage any optimism.
Fantasy Picks: The names remain the same. KL, Gayle, Ashwin, and Mujeeb are obvious picks. Mayank and Finch are risky gambles, and so is the rest of the team.
The primary reason Gambhir has been so unsuccessful so far is he has not been contributing with the scoring. KKR was quite dependent on him for the same, but he stepped up and helped his team win several matches. If he starts doing the same with Delhi, things might just begin to change for them. Rishabh Pant cannot be the only one scoring in every match. Jason Roy has looked very uncomfortable at the crease since his 91, while Gambhir too has struggled for rhythm. Shreyas Iyer contributed with a fifty in the last match, an encouraging sign of a stabilising middle order. However, the rest of the team needs to start chipping in. Maxwell must take more responsibility with the bat, while the spots occupied by Nadeem and Vijay Shankar need suitable replacements. At home is a good time for the Delhi batting to finally put together a collective performance. They will need one to win against Punjab.
Glenn Maxwell has been the pick of the Delhi bowlers on more than one occasion now, encapsulating the sorry state of Delhi’s bowling. Gambhir replaced Shami with medium-pacer Harshal Patel in a bid for results, but this is not the way to earn them. Boult and Morris have not adapted well so far, while Nadeem and the rest continue to be expensive. Rahul Tewatia has been economical, and perhaps DDs best bowler so far. Gambhir needs the sparks of brilliance he had as captain with KKR to guide his team to victory. However, this challenge seems beyond his capabilities, at least for now.
Fantasy Picks: Besides Pant and Iyer, it is difficult to recommend players from a team that is just not performing. Tewatia is a relatively reliable pick, while Boult has been improving recently. Maxwell is a risky choice, while Jason Roy is too. Gambhir will be returning to where he has played all his cricket, maybe he can pull something special.
Punjab win. Delhi will need a big miracle to win this one.
Can Delhi cause a massive upset or will the Kings XI prove too strong? Let us know in the comments and poll below.