Delhi Daredevils will take on Kings XI Punjab in what will be the third match for both teams in IPL 8. Delhi hit a rough patch last year when they lost nine games in a row. Unfortunately, their results haven't been reversed at the start of a new season as well. Delhi's losing streak has extended to 11 with close losses against Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. Kings XI Punjab, on the other hand, have had a mixed time of it. They had a pretty poor game against Rajasthan Royals, which they lost easily. But, they fought back strongly to upset Mumbai Indians.
Although Delhi have lost both their matches in the tournament, they haven't actually played bad cricket. In the opening game against Chennai, they restricted a strong bowling line up to 150, but could not chase it down. Nathan-Coulter Nile bowled exceptionally well to restrict a strong Chennai batting outfit, but their batsmen, Albie Morkel apart, were no match to Ashish Nehra. Against Rajasthan, they looked set for a win after a good all-round batting show, but Deepak Hooda took the game away from them.
The ingredients for Delhi to succeed against Punjab will require Yuvraj Singh and skipper JP Duminy to fire with the bat. They are not strong in the batting otherwise, but if some of the local talent like Mayank Agarwal, Kedar Jadhav and Manoj Tiwary fire, it would help their cause. Even in the bowling, Imran Tahir has been highly potent. In fact, his bowling almost won them the game against Rajasthan until the tide turned towards the end. Even Amit Mishra will need to chip in with better efforts.
Kings XI Punjab, on the other hand, will be highly confident having beaten Mumbai Indians on the latter's home turf. Virender Sehwag came back to form with a blazing 36 while skipper George Bailey made a match-winning half-century. Further, although opener Murali Vijay hasn't been at his fluent best, he has been among the runs, which will make him feel good. Who hasn't been among the runs though is Glenn Maxwell. Punjab would be hoping that changes against Delhi.
In the bowling department, Punjab have been impressive. Anureet Singh and Sandeep Sharma both have been among the wickets, the latter was exceptional against Mumbai. It always is a massive boost when the local talent does well. The good starts given by Singh and Sharma have helped Mitchell Johnson apply further pressure. Axar Patel has been a bit up and down, but he is a valuable member for sure. Under the circumstances, Kings should fancy their chances.
--By A Cricket Analyst