Table-toppers Delhi Capitals would expect more from their batsmen after an underwhelming performance in the loss to Kings XI Punjab when they take on a low-on-confidence Kolkata Knight Riders in the first game of the day on Saturday.
For Delhi, opener Shikhar Dhawan has been in brilliant form but even his record-setting hundred was not enough to save the side from a defeat against Kings XI Punjab for lack of contribution from other batters.
Young Prithvi Shaw needs to bat with more responsibility at the top since Dhawan may not be able to rescue the side all the time. Shaw’s last four innings have included two ducks.
Skipper Shreyas Iyer too has not been hitting the ball as fluently as he was before suffering a side strain. Rishabh Pant, who made a comeback from injury against Punjab, too has not yet set the stage on fire.
— Delhi Capitals (Tweeting from 🇦🇪) (@DelhiCapitals) October 23, 2020
Iyer and Pant, along with Marcus Stoinis, form the backbone of Capitals’ middle order. They are vital cogs in DC’s wheels and need to do more than just making good starts.
KKR are heading into the contest after an embarrassing batting performance against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Blown away by Mohammed Siraj’s furious spell, KKR managed just 84 runs on the board.
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) October 23, 2020
It certainly was a confidence-crushing defeat and KKR need to regroup quickly.
Sitting at fourth place in the table with 10 points, they would be desperate to increase their tally to stay alive in the play-offs race.
Even the change in captaincy has not instilled much confidence in the side.
The performance of pacer Lockie Ferguson has been the only bright spot for them amid the disappointment of Andre Russell’s poor run.
Russell missed out on the last match due to an injury and it will be interesting to see if the team management reposes faith in him, if he is fit.
KKR needs a collective effort from now on with skipper Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, Shubhman Gill, Nitish Rana all required to contribute.
Battle of survival on cards as resurgent KXIP face SRH
In the second match on Saturday, Kings XI Punjab will take on another resurgent team — Sunrisers Hyderabad in a must-win IPL game for the two well-matched sides.
Both KXIP and SRH are on the same pedestal, having garnered eight points apiece after 10 games, but the Hyderabad outfit is a rung ahead in the eight-team standings, on the fifth spot by virtue of a better net run rate.
And both the teams need to win their remaining four games to guarantee their place in the play-offs
It has been a terrific turnaround especially for KXIP after a slow start to the tournament.
— Kings XI Punjab (@lionsdenkxip) October 22, 2020
After the initial hiccups, KXIP got its campaign back on track with three consecutive wins — over mighty Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore and the KL Rahul-led side would be hoping to carry the winning momentum forward to break into top four.
It has been an erratic season for KXIP so far despite having the tournament’s top two run-getters in openers Rahul (540) and Mayank Agarwal (398) in its ranks.
But the successful return of Gayle has been a welcome relief for KXIP as it reduced the burden on the shoulders of its star openers, especially allowing Rahul to play more freely.
Jimmy Neesham’s inclusion has given some depth to KXIP’s batting as well bowling unit led by the experienced Mohammed Shami.
SRH too find itself in similar position and needs to win its remaining four matches to seal a play-off berth.
The side managed to keep itself in the play-off hunt with a confidence-boosting eight-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals on Thursday night after three consecutive defeats.
— SunRisers Hyderabad (@SunRisers) October 23, 2020
And the David Warner-led side can’t slip a bit from hereon if it wishes to stay alive in the tournament.
The positive for SRH is that despite Warner and Jonny Bairstow departing early in the 155-run chase against RR in their last match, young Manish Pandey (83) and Vijay Shankar (52) rose to the occasion and shared an unbeaten 140-run partnership to secure a comfortable win.
Jason Holder’s inclusion has added firepower to SRH’s bowling attack as the West Indian picked up three wickets for 33 runs against RR.
But it’s high time that SRH’s young guns — Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad and T Natarajan — own up some responsibility.
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