Mohali: Both Kings XI Punjab and Pune Warriors India are having a hard time in IPL 6 and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top in a battle of underdogs at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium here on Sunday.
Both teams lost their last matches against Sunrisers Hyderabad and are desperate for a win to keep themselves in contention for the play-offs. Punjab have won two of their five encounters, while Pune have won two of their six matches. Clearly, it is Pune who need this win more than their opponents.
On paper, Pune have a stronger squad. Unfortunately, their strong batting has not come good yet. In their last match against Sunrisers Hyderabad earlier this week, they could not even chase down a lowly target of 120, losing four wickets in an Amit Mishra over towards the end. There is another major concern: doubts over Yuvraj Singh's fitness continue. The dangerous batsman has not been in action for the last two matches on account of a back injury and visitors are hoping he plays on Sunday.
Pune captain Angelo Mathews is also under a lot of fire due to his failing to make any difference with either bat or ball. He needs to do something to show himself in a good light among his team-mates and fans.
Punjab too have batting woes. They fell short by at least 25 runs against Hyderabad on Friday and that cost them dear. Adam Gilchrist, by his own confession, is "dwindling" as a batsman. David Hussey and Azhar Mahmood are too yet to hit their best form. Among local batsmen, there is not one player who inspires confidence. So it is the hosts' batsmen under the scanner at the moment. Punjab's bowling is fine but the bowlers need a strong total to bowl at.
Pune lead head-to-head against Punjab 3-2 and that suggests there is not much to choose between the two teams.
Kings XI Punjab: 1 Adam Gilchrist (capt/wk), 2 Mandeep Singh, 3 Manan Vohra, 4 David Hussey, 5 David Miller, 6 Azhar Mahmood, Gurkeerat Singh, 8 Manpreet Gony, 9 Piyush Chawla, 10 Praveen Kumar, 11 Parwinder Awana
Pune Warriors: 1 Aaron Finch, 2 Robin Uthappa (wk), 3 Ross Taylor, 4 Steven Smith, 5 Yuvraj Singh/Manish Pandey, 6 Angelo Mathews (capt), 7 T Suman, 8 Abhishek Nayar, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Rahul Sharma, 11 Ashok Dinda