The host has already been knocked out of the reckoning and KXIP is almost through to the next stage

It is difficult to assign significance to the Delhi Daredevils-Kings XI Punjab encounter that takes place at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Monday. As the host has already been knocked out of the reckoning for the IPL-7 playoffs and the visitor almost through to the next stage, there’s little to play for.

Yet, Daredevils could use the remaining three games to experiment and learn a bit more about the resources at its disposal. One senses that for certain players to feature prominently within the team’s plans next season, the forthcoming matches will be crucial.

On Sunday, though, Eric Simons claimed that Daredevils would still play its best side as it seeks its first victory in seven matches.

He added that Kevin Pietersen has been a terrific leader as the Englishman has constantly motivated the side by reminding it that the abysmal performance is not a reflection of the players’ ability. Despite the results, it can’t be claimed with conviction that Pietersen or coach Gary Kirsten are struggling to keep their jobs. Yet, they need to demonstrate they are worthy of the responsibilities entrusted upon them.

Daredevils will hope that the displays of Manoj Tiwary (61 off 44 balls) and Imran Tahir (two for 25) in the previous match against Rajasthan Royals will inspire the others in the team.

The inspiration for KXIP flows within the side. Another successful chase of 200-plus on Wednesday against Sunrisers Hyderabad only embellished its redoubtable credentials.

Although KXIP’s bowlers haven’t been the most frugal — the side’s economy rate in this tournament is 8.35 — the batsmen seem to think no challenge is insurmountable.

Before the start of the season, many wondered whether the franchise’s batting line-up will be one of the most destructive ever. More than half-way through the campaign, most are convinced that there are few batting phalanxes more harmful for bowling attacks.

Indeed, Simons has admitted that his side’s bowlers are feeling a little nervous at the prospect of facing Glenn Maxwell.

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