With defeats in their last two matches,Kings XI Punjab will need to recover fast if they have any hope of qualifying for the playoffs. Currently sixth on the table with eight points,they trail Mumbai Indians,in fourth place,by four points.
Bridging that gap over the next six matches wont be easy,and their task is made more difficult by the fact that they now face Chennai Super Kings. Chennai,who have won their last six matches on the trot,sit comfortably atop the table with 16 points,with a four-point cushion separating them from Royal Challengers Bangalore in second place.
Promotion for Miller?
Mandeep Singh is Punjabs highest run-scorer so far this season,with 228 runs in nine innings. But hes only 15th on the overall table,and Chennai have three batsmen above him on that list. Its indicative of Punjabs lack of truly outstanding performers with the bat. But there are a couple of encouraging signs for the side.
Shaun Marsh,their highest run-scorer overall in the IPL,returned to the side in their last match against Mumbai,and South African David Miller,who didnt play their first four matches,has put together a run of blistering form,scoring 200 runs in five innings at an average of 66.66 and a strike rate of 143.88. But in those five innings,Miller has batted at number five four times and once at number four. Should Punjab be looking to move the left-hander up the order?
With 11 scalps so far,Azhar Mahmood has been Punjabs highest wicket-taker. But hes also been their most expensive regular bowler above only David Hussey and R Sathish. Mahmood hasnt had a good tournament with the bat either,scoring just 46 runs in seven innings at 6.57. Punjab could look to replace him with Dimitri Mascarenhas,who has played only the one game so far.
Chennai face a similar issue with Dwayne Bravo,who is their highest wicket-taker with 16 victims but has an economy rate of 8.11. Only Ben Laughlin and Ankit Rajpoot who have bowled seven overs between them have been more expensive. Bravo hasnt been in great form with the bat either,with just 51 runs in 10 innings. Chennai also have a replacement waiting in Albie Morkel,an all-rounder who has served them exceptionally right from the first season. (ENS)