What went right: Many positives. Suresh Raina was uncomfortable against Mitchell Starc’s pace. But once the Australian fast bowler was done with his first spell, Raina hit some princely shots on his way to a 50-ball 62. Ashish Nehra rolled back the years to finish with four for 10 in his four overs. It was one of the best bowling performances by a seamer across IPLs. Nehra now has 10 wickets from five matches at an economy rate of 6.05. Not bad for a 36-year-old.
What went wrong: Ravindra Jadeja, once again, was poor. The left-arm spinner was India’s weak link in the World Cup. His performance hasn’t improved in the IPL with only two wickets in five matches at an economy rate of 10.15. Jadeja conceded 37 runs in his four overs against Royal Challengers and at times, was dealt with contempt by Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
Kings XI Punjab (bt RR)
What went right: Shaun Marsh. The left-hander played his first game of this IPL against Rajasthan Royals and anchored the chase with a 40-ball 65. David Miller took it up from there and his 30-ball 54 helped Punjab finish on level terms. They eventually won the game in the one-over eliminator. Miller’s return to form is a big positive for the last year’s runners-up.
What went wrong: On paper, Kings XI have one of the better bowling attacks in the tournament. But collectively, they’ve been struggling to make an impact. Mitchell Johnson is suffering from inconsistency. Axar Patel’s economy rate (8.07) has gone up (6.13 last year) a few notches. But Glenn Maxwell’s batting form appears to be the biggest concern for his team at the moment. Maxwell was out for one in the last match. With only 62 runs from five matches, ‘Mad Max’ needs to strike his game.
Despite KXIP stopping RR’s unbeaten run in a thriller, Super Kings start as favourites at home, especially with their army of spinners to exploit the conditions. They’ve been very consistent, while their opponents are going through a stop-start kind of season.