If Kings XI Punjab’s performances in this season’s Pepsi IPL were to be represented on a graph, it would resemble the tyre marks on the starting grid of an F1 track.
Much would seem erratic, with only a few pointers to the team’s direction in the coming matches.
KXIP’s last match at the PCA Stadium here further added to the intrigue surrounding the side, with its opponent Kolkata Knight Riders collapsing dramatically to finish five short of the target.
Hence, when Adam Gilchrist’s men face Pune Warriors India, it would be parlous to predict which team will turn up for the former on Sunday.
KXIP’s display in its defeat against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday night was arguably a fairer reflection of the side’s ability, with a weak middle-order excruciatingly exposed by the opposition bowlers.
Positively, Shaun Marsh passed a fitness test in Australia on the same day and joined the squad on Saturday morning. However, the top-order batsman will not be fast-tracked into the playing eleven for Sunday’s match.
These two sides have already met in this year’s tournament, with KXIP posting an eight-wicket win in its season opener at Pune.
Currently second from bottom, PWI is coming off a potentially season-defining defeat at the hands of SRH. After losing its last six wickets for seven runs to lose the contest by 11, Angelo Mathews’ team may further plummet into an abyss of failure or kick-start a phoenix-like resurgence.
PWI’s showing till now would indicate that the former is more likely to happen, with only a couple of wins over Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals adorning its results list.
The batting line-up is expected to receive a major boost on Sunday with the return of Yuvraj Singh, who missed the last two matches due to injury.