Kings XI Punjab has an impressive record at home this season. Having won three out of the four matches at the PCA Stadium here, the side is eyeing a slot in the play-offs.
After the incredible win against the formidable Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings, which has always finished outside the top-four barring the inaugural season, is confident of making it this time.
Lying sixth in the table with 10 points from 11 outings, KXIP is part of the mid-table crush. “It’s nice to be home, we have only one ‘away’ game and the rest (four) at home. We need to make hay when the sun shines,” said coach Darren Lehmann on the eve of the team’s encounter against the third-placed Rajasthan Royals.
Against an inspired RR, which has 16 points from 12 games, KXIP will bank on its bowling resources, which boasts the likes of swing bowler Praveen Kumar and medium-pacers Parvinder Awana and Manpreet Grewal.
Miller, the inspiration
Batting has been the team’s weak link. However, David Miller’s heroics, which propelled the team past the stiff target set by RCB, has spread a lot of positive energy in the home side. If batsmen like David Hussey and Shaun Marsh chip in, KXIP is capable of posting or bettering any total.
Guided by one of the most disciplined students of the game — Rahul Dravid — RR has shown how marshalling one’s resources with proper planning can reap dividends. If Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane have underscored the importance of correct batsmanship, Shane Watson and Stuart Binny have served the team well with their all-round capabilities.
James Faulkner and Siddharth Trivedi have exhibited good control with the ball and contributed in making RR the king in its own backyard.
The main challenge for RR will be to adapt to the different ambience here. Conditions will be similar, though, due to the heat wave sweeping across North India.
RR will try to strengthen its elite status, while KXIP will aspire to move up the ladder. The duel, starting under the sun, promises to be engaging.
KXIP is part of the mid-table crush Miller’s performance against RCB has lifted the side
KXIP is part of the mid-table crush
Miller’s performance against RCB has lifted the side