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Kings look to break into top-four

Going by Deccan’s poor show this season,Kings XI Punjab will back themselves to bag two points,crucial at this stage of the tournament considering that four teams are in the race to finish fourth and make the play-offs

Published: May 8, 2012 1:46 am

Play-off push

Going by Deccan’s poor show this season,Kings XI Punjab will back themselves to bag two points,crucial at this stage of the tournament considering that four teams are in the race to finish fourth and make the play-offs. Punjab had 11 points from 10 games,the same as Rajasthan Royals,who are playing the first match of the day against Pune Warriors. Chennai,Bangalore and Rajasthan (on net run-rate) at this stage are ranked above Punjab. Incidentally,Punjab don’t have a single batsman in the top-10 run-makers list. For Punjab,a lot will depend on how Shaun Marsh (No.13,290 runs) and 20-year-old Mandeep Singh (No.14,284 runs) perform with the bat. Deccan are still in the process of learning how to win a game,but with nothing to lose they could be dangerous opponents.

In focus: Dale Steyn

Deccan have been hammered with psychological blows by opponents right through this season and they have crawled to just 5 points from 11 games. But their loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday was a crushing blow because it saw their strike bowler Dale Steyn being smashed around by AB de Villiers for 23 runs in the 18th over in the midst of a run-fest that saw the South African batsman knock off most of the 62 runs in the last 23 balls. Deccan will hope that the world’s premier fast bowler is able to quickly forget the mauling he received and produce unplayable spells that he has right through the season.

Wood vs leather

Cameron White versus Azhar Mahmood will be a match-up between two T20 specialists at different stages in their career. White,a former Australia T20 skipper,has been most successful in the shorter versions. His knock of 77 — versus Pune — helped Deccan record their first win of the season two weeks ago. At 28,White will hope that his IPL performances (337 runs in eight innings) help him force his way into the Australian ODI squad. At 37,Mahmood,who has represented 12 teams,is turning out as a T20 specialist and an effective one at that. His contributions with the bat and the ball have been significant in IPL V.

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