Dharamsala: After beating Royal Challengers Bangalore convincingly by seven wickets, Kings XI Punjab have kept their hopes alive to qualify for the IPL 6 play-offs. But they still have a huge task to do if they want to ensure a place in the play-offs. After the victory over Bangalore, Punjab now have 12 points, four less than RCB and Sunrisers Hyderabad, who have 16 points each.
The top three spots have been taken by Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians. While RCB play Chennai Super Kings in their last game, Sunrisers face Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders in their remaining two league matches.
Punjab are now in a must-win situation when they take on Delhi Daredevils in game 67 at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium on Thursday. Punjab and Delhi have faced each other six times at this venue, out of which Punjab have won four times and Delhi twice. Punjab also have to hope that that RCB lose their last match against CSK on Saturday as well as that Hyderabad lose their remaining two matches.
Punjab's strength this season has been their pace bowling led by pacer Praveen Kumar and also includes medium-pacer Parvinder Awana, who played a crucial role in the victory over Bangalore by picking up three wickets. Azhar Mahmood produced a stellar all-round performance against Bangalore by picking up two wickets and scoring a quick-fire fifty, his first in the IPL. The good news for Punjab is that their skipper Adam Gilchrist seems to have got back into the form. Gilchrist scored his first fifty for Punjab in his last 11 IPL innings by making an unbeaten 85 off 54 balls, and had a 118-run partnership with Mahmood.
On the other hand, Delhi are second-last in the points table with 11 losses in 14 matches and have nothing to lose. Delhi's top order has failed badly this season with neither Virender Sehwag nor captain Mahela Jayawardene living up to their reputations. David Warner is the only one who has scored consistently this season. As always, Warner - who has captained in the last two matches - remains the biggest threat to the opposition and Delhi's best bet at a win.
Kings XI Punjab: 1 Adam Gilchrist (capt/wk), 2 Shaun Marsh, 3 Azhar Mahmood, 4 David Miller, 5 R Sathish, 6 Mandeep Singh, 7 Manan Vohra, 8 Manpreet Gony, 9 Piyush Chawla, 10 Parvinder Awana, 11 Sandeep Sharma
Delhi Daredevils: 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Unmukt Chand, 3 Johan Botha, 4 David Warner (capt), 6 Kedar Jadhav (wk), 7 Ben Rohrer, 8 Roelof van der Merwe, 9 Irfan Pathan, 10 Umesh Yadav, 11 Ashish Nehra, 12 Siddarth Kaul