MOHALI:After denting Mumbai Indians’s chances of making the play-offs on Friday, Kings XI Punjab is ready for another must-win encounter against an in-form Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday.
As things stand, Kings XI is seventh on the points-table and can, at best, reach 14 points at the end of the league phase. A defeat in its remaining three matches will see Kings XI join Rising Pune Supergaints to go out of contention for a place in the play-offs.
Even after reaching a maximum of 14 points, Kings XI cannot be sure of making the cut. Going by past records, Mumbai Indians (in 2008), Kings XI (in 2009 and 2011), Delhi Daredevils (in 2010), Rajasthan Royals (in 2014), Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad (in 2015) ended their campaigns with 14 points.
On the bright side, Deccan Chargers (2009), Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore (2010 and 2015), Mumbai Indians (2014) and Rajasthan Royals (2015) reached the play-off by scoring 14 points, thanks to their superior net run-rate. Therefore, it boils down to superior net run-rate if there is a tie at 14 points for the third/fourth spots on the league table.
Royal Challengers Bangalore, by virtue of its massive 144-run victory over Gujarat Lions, has already gained the best net run rate, that could come handy in case of a tie. Kings XI has a long way to go.
Going by the pattern of results so far, it seems unlikely that a team with seven wins has a chance to reach the playoffs. In other words, an eighth defeat is sure to keep a team in the bottom-half of the table, while an eighth victory brings a ticket to playoffs. Sunrisers will be looking for its eighth win on Sunday.
Though softened up by Delhi Daredevils on Thursday, the table-topper will have reasons to be upbeat against an inconsistent Kings XI.
Though the team’s performance has looked up under M. Vijay, Kings XI will have to score more through its middle-order where David Miller and a not-so-fit Glenn Maxwell will have to fire.
The bowlers will have to contend with in-form SRH openers David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan to begin with. The under-exposed middle-order is what Kings XI will be looking to have a go at.
As a bowling unit, SRH has impressed one and all. It remains to be seen how Kings XI deals with the attack that was made to look ordinary the other night by Daredevils.
Sunrisers start as an obvious favourite and, as always, Kings XI will be happy to begin as an underdog.