After a memorable double Super Over win against reigning champions Mumbai Indians (MI), a rejuvenated Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will aim to carry their momentum and keep their chances of making it to the playoffs alive when they meet table toppers Delhi Capitals (DC) on Tuesday.
Led by KL Rahul, KXIP held their nerves in the heart-stopping contest at the same venue, Dubai International Stadium. The win has surely boosted the morale of KXIP and the squad would now aim to replicate the performance against Shreyas Iyer's men, who are currently atop the table with 14 points.
The sole problem with KXIP has been their failure to click as a unit, barring Rahul and opener Mayank Agarwal. The others have not supported them as they should have. The Punjab batting lineup has surely been strengthened after the inclusion of Chris Gayle in the playing XI. But the others, especially West Indian cricketer Nicholas Pooran and Australian batsman Glenn Maxwell, are yet to step up and be counted.
The story is similar with their bowling department. Apart from Mohammad Shami and Ravi Bishnoi the others have not lived up to the expectations. Arshdeep Singh had a decent spell (2/35) against MI but the young pacer needs to be consistent. The bowlers need to be wary of the Delhi batsmen.
On the other hand, despite enduring several injuries to their players -- like Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, and Rishabh Pant -- DC have displayed consistency. Opener Shikhar Dhawan has finally regained his form while Iyer has continued to lead from the front. Prithvi Shaw has failed in the previous two outings and needs to get back on track as early as possible. Ajinkya Rahane, too, needs to step up. As one of the most dependable batsmen of his side, he has failed to make an impact in the limited opportunities he has got. Axar Patel and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis will once again be the key players for DC as both have proved their worth with bat and ball. It was Patel's fireworks against CSK in the final over that sealed a win for DC.
In the bowling department, Kagiso Rabada is in superb form and has received good support from compatriot Anrich Nortje. The duo would once again aim to create havoc in the KXIP lineup.
Meanwhile, experienced spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Patel will share the spin workload, and with the wickets in the UAE getting on the slower side, a lot would depend on the duo.
The last time the two teams met this season, DC defeated KXIP in a Super Over thriller and Rahul's KXIP would be eager to settle scores on Tuesday.
Delhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer (captain), Kagiso Rabada, Marcus Stoinis, Sandeep Lamichhane, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Alex Carey, Mohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw, Lalit Yadav, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Tushar Deshpande, Rishabh Pant, Harshal Patel, Keemo Paul, Anrich Nortje, Daniel Sams
Kings XI Punjab: Lokesh Rahul (captain), Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel, Mandeep Singh, James Neesham, Tajinder Singh, Chris Jordan, Karun Nair, Deepak Hooda, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Glenn Maxwell, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Sarfaraz Khan, Sheldon Cottrell, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Darshan Nalkande, Nicholas Pooran, Chris Gayle, Murugan Ashwin, Jagadeesha Suchith, Krishnappa Gowtham, Hardus Viljoen, Simran Singh