Punjab Kings will be eager to register a big win to keep their IPL play-off hopes alive against wooden spooners Delhi Capitals, who will play for pride when the two teams face off in Dharamsala on Wednesday. It has been a roller-coaster ride for PBKS, with six losses and as many wins. They are placed at eighth spot with 12 points and are still in contention to make the qualifiers. However, they need to improve their net run rate (NRR), which stands at -0.268. A 31-run win against the Capitals last week boosted their NRR and morale and the Shikhar Dhawan-led side will hope for an encore and then hope that other results go their way.
Punjab will have to put up a much improved effort with the bat. Against Delhi, opener Prabhsimran Singh waged a lone battle. Barring Dhawan, who has been their best batter, and to an extent Prabhsimran Singh, very few PBKS batters have contributed enough to their overall totals.
Their bowlers also need to pull up their socks. Boasting of a sound bowling attack with Nathan Ellis, Sam Curran and Arshdeep Singh, PBKS have often failed to defend runs.
On the other hand, Delhi Capitals have had a nightmare of a season and have already been knocked out of the play-off contention.
The batting unit has disappointed all season. Delhi’s Indian batters, barring Axar Patel, have flattered to deceive, putting up a dismal show.
The abject failure of Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan has contributed significantly to Delhi Capitals’ travails this season, forcing the think-tank to pack all their overseas players at the top.
Skipper David Warner, wicketkeeper-batter Phil Salt and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh have given the team some momentum with the willow. But once they are gone, the middle order just crumbles.
In their previous game against Punjab, the Capitals looked on course for a comfortable win but then lost eight wickets for 67 runs.
The Indian bowlers in the side are not faring as badly as the batters. Three of DC’s four wins have come on the back of dominant bowling displays.
Old warhorse Ishant Sharma has done his job while the return of Khaleel Ahmed has also helped.
Anrich Nortje, who had returned home for personal reasons, is back but it is to be seen if Delhi continue with the four overseas batters at the top or bring the South African pacer to tighten their bowling attack.
The spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel have bowled economically.
Punjab Kings: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Shahrukh Khan, Matthew Short, Prabhsimran Singh, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Jitesh Sharma, Gurnoor Singh Brar, Rishi Dhawan, Liam Livingstone, Atharva Taide, Arshdeep Singh, Baltej Singh, Nathan Ellis, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar, Harpreet Brar, Sam Curran, Sikandar Raza, Harpreet Bhatia, Vidwath Kaverappa, Mohit Rathee, Shivam Singh.
Delhi Capitals: David Warner (c), Prithvi Shaw, Mitchell Marsh, Sarfaraz Khan, Aman Hakim Khan, Abhishek Porel (wk), Axar Patel, Khaleel Ahmed, Kuldeep Yadav, Rovman Powell, Rilee Rossouw, Anrich Nortje, Mustafizur Rahaman, Chetan Sakariya, Mukesh Kumar, Phil Salt, Lungi Ngidi, Praveen Dubey, Lalit Yadav, Ripal Patel, Vicky Ostwal, Ishant Sharma, Manish Pandey, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Yash Dhull.
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