The stage is set at the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium in Pune on the 15th of April 2015. The two teams from the northern regions of India will lock horns. The teams are the Kings XI Punjab and the Delhi Daredevils. Both these sides from northern India are led by an overseas player. One is led by the talented South African JP Duminy, while the cool headed Aussie George Bailey leads the other one.
After two games, the Kings XI have managed to get off the mark in the points table and have two points in their kitty. The Daredevils on the other hand have carried their 2013 and 2014 form into this edition as well. After two games against the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals, they are yet to open their account. However, that doesn’t portray the true picture about the Daredevils. The men from Delhi lost both the games on the very last ball. To add to their woes, their premier pacers in Shami and Zaheer are still nursing their respective injuries. The Daredevils are just one win away from finding form. They have players in their arsenal who are match winners on their day.
PREVIOUS YEAR CLASHES:
The two sides in the 2014 IPL first met on the 19th of May at the Feroz Shah Kotla. Batting first, the hosts got to a respectable total of 164, thanks to a fine knock by Dinesh Karthik. However, against the star studded Kings XI batting lineup, no total can be locked in as safe. The Kings got off to flier as Manan Vohra belted Shami to all parts of the ground. A middle order collapse though made the game an interesting one. At the end it all came down to Axar Patel, who played a fine hand of 42*, to take his team past the finish line. The Kings won by a close margin with just 2 balls to spare.
They met for the second time just six days later at the PCA stadium in Mohali. The Daredevils once again batted first. But this time, it was a low scoring game. The visitors could manage a mere 115, as they were all out in 18.1 overs. Kevin Pietersen scored more than 50% of the team total, as his knock of 58 was completely in vain. The Kings XI once again led by the young Manan Vohra thrashed the helpless Daredevils bowlers. The Kings easily won the outing with more than 6 overs to spare.
In the first two games of previous edition, Maxwell had two 90+ scores to his name. This time around though, he has started in a highly low key manner. Maxwell will soon have to get back to his original shape and win the games for the Kings XI. A good outing against the Daredevils could easily mean his return to form. Maxwell will enjoy batting on the flat wicket in Pune.
The 21-year old seamer from Punjab has been highly underrated. His ability to swing the ball has even impressed Mitchell Johnson. Sharma has been simply fantastic for the Kings XI so far. His economy rate of less than 4 just signals that. His incoming deliveries have troubled the likes of Rohit Sharma and Aaron Finch as well. Sharma would want to keep the good show going.
The India discard would want to be at his best against the Kings XI. Yuvraj showed a few glimpses of his actual self against the Royals, before his innings was cut short by some brilliance in the field. While fielding though, Yuvraj has looked completely demotivated. He needs to keep himself up and be cheerful. Who knows, the game against the Kings XI might get him back to form!
The South African leggie has been brilliant for the Daredevils to say the least. He is the current holder of the Purple Cap. The wicket at Pune might suit his skills big time, and one can expect another good show from the leg spinner. With Amit Mishra, Tahir has formed a key partnership and the two are essential in choking the opposition out. Against the batting lineup of the Kings XI though, this might be a very challenging task. But the scope of getting wickets is extremely broad as well, because the Kings XI batsmen won’t hold themselves back either.
KINGS XI PUNJAB:
They are expected to field the same XI.
1. V. Sehwag 2. M. Vijay 3. W. Saha 4. G. Maxwell 5. D. Miller 6. G. Bailey 7. A. Patel 8. R. Dhawan 9. M. Johnson 10. A. Singh 11. S. Sharma
The Daredevils were much better than what the results suggest so far. Shami and Zaheer are both not fit yet. They are expected to miss another couple of games.
1. M. Agarwal 2. S. Iyer 3. JP Duminy 4. Y. Singh 5. M. Tiwary 6. A. Mathews 7. K. Jadhav 8. N. Coulter Nile 9. A. Mishra 10. I. Tahir 11. J. Unadkat
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