Sehwag may miss Delhi Daredevils' last league encounter also
It will be the final match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) qualification stage for both teams but the last chance of survival for one. Delhi Daredevils has secured a place in the play-offs but Kings XI Punjab nurtures ambitions of making it to the next phase. For that to happen, it has to win against Daredevils on Saturday and then pray the other results work in its favour.
Technical equations will come into play if Punjab repeats its performance of Thursday when Adam Gilchrist and his men out-slugged Chennai Super Kings. It was a clinical performance by Punjab with the emphasis on a collective effort even though it was left to Gilchrist to ensure there were no alarms.
The pitch was a challenge. The bowlers loved it and demonstrated their appreciation with some skilful stuff, especially Praveen Kumar and Parwinder Awana. It is not often that the bowlers command such respect and it was a refreshing departure from the routine.
Punjab did its home work well. The Chennai batsmen were tested in their weak areas and there were plenty. Suresh Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni surrendered meekly and with them went the team's chances. It was a fitting reward for the Punjab team. True, some close defeats hurt both the teams but Punjab was the better team here.
Gilchrist acknowledged the inputs from coach Vikram Rathour. The former India opener loves to analyse the game and look for innovative measures. “The idea is to keep the players fresh,” is Rathour's simple philosophy. He brought a professional work culture in the Punjab dressing room during the first-class matches and has carried on the good work in the IPL too.
Daredevils has had a wonderful run in this edition. To have consistently occupied the top slot in the table only confirms Daredevils' preparation backed by an effective combination. Skipper Virender Sehwag's outstanding form and some of his tough decisions when picking the playing eleven have been the focus of the team's formidable show.
Taylor's good show
Sehwag missed the contest against Royal Challengers Bangalore due to fever. He is unlikely to play here too. “The throat is too sore,” he said. He will, however, take a call on Saturday. If he does not play, the local audience would be hugely disappointed, for Sehwag has been the reason for the “sold out” board at all ticket outlets days before the match.
Daredevils should be please with Ross Taylor getting some runs after a lean patch.