A clash between two strong contenders for the top four ensues this Saturday in the VIVO Indian Premier League when Delhi Capitals host Kings XI Punjab at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. Riding off the back of a spectacular win against Rajasthan Royals, the Shers will now look to carry forward that momentum with a strong performance in Delhi which will see them solidify their grip on a place in the knockouts phase of the competition.
Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab have a prolific head-to-head record against the Delhi team, winning 14 out of the 23 matches competed. The Shers have won three consecutive games against the Delhi Capitals; and with their top order firing on all cylinders, a fourth straight win seems on the cards.
The hosts though have caught form at just the right moment, having beaten both the Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders away from home. Their pace bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Keemo Paul have been brilliant this season and will need to continue that form if they are to beat Kings XI Punjab at home.
Batting da Baadshah
What a buy KL Rahul has proved out to be for KXIP! Since being picked by the Shers in the 2018 auction, the 27-year-old has amassed over a 1000 runs which includes 10 fifties and a century in just 24 appearances. His form in the 2019 IPL season has been staggering, averaging a resounding 95.5 for the last seven games, with his side emerging victorious in four of those games.
For the Capitals, it is veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan who tops the scoring board at the moment but Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer have also contributed handsomely. Dhawan has had plenty of good starts this season and his near-ton against KKR suggests he might kick up another gear soon.
Bowling de Kings
Mohammed Shami’s skill and experience in the death overs have helped sway tense games in the favour of Kings XI Punjab this season. His ability to bowl accurate yorkers at the death alongside picking up crucial wickets has made him indispensable to the Shers line-up, who’d be keen to see the veteran shine once again when he plays his former team Delhi on Saturday.
The hosts however have pacer Kagiso Rabada to thank for most of their victories. The South African boasts an incredible bowling average of 14.57 and is the only bowler to record two four-wicket hauls this season. It’s no surprise that the Protean is the leading the race for the Purple Cap.
Mudde ki Baat
With the competition entering its final few days of the group stages, both sides would be eager for a win which could see them pull away from the rest of the contenders for the top four slots. Kings XI Punjab have a decent track record at Feroz Shah Kotla, having won there five times thus far and would be looking to get their second away win of the 2019 season after a good showing against the Royals on Tuesday.
Delhi Capitals might end up losing their marquee foreign stars like Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris at the fag end of the tournaments if they are selected for the South African World Cup; and would therefore be looking to win their home games now in order to stay in contention for the top four. But their record at home this season hasn’t been up to the mark, having lost four in a row at the Kotla, and that could play in the Punjab’s favour.
- KL Rahul scored the fastest fifty in the history of the IPL against Delhi Capitals last season.
- Mohammed Shami has already picked up more wickets this season than in any previous years of the IPL.
- Murugan Ashwin has a stingy economy rate of 6.38 this season which is better than any Delhi Capitals player.
Chris Gayle, KL Rahul (wk), Mayank Agarwal, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Mohammed Shami, Andrew Tye, Murugan Ashwin, Arshdeep Singh.
The pitch at Feroz Shah Kotla has been unpredictable this season, favouring pace in some pace while sometimes while aiding the spinners otherwise. Therefore, captain Ashwin would not want to take any chances with his bowling attack and play with six bowlers so that they aren’t short changed. The KXIP top order has been in great form this year, which in turn helps the team management play bowling all-rounder Sam Curran at number six.
NOTE: The aforementioned line-up is an educated guess at best, and the final decision rests with the captain and the team management depending on various external factors.