Desperate Punjab up against marauding Delhi

IPL's first semi-finalists Delhi Daredevils would be keen to continue the good work when they take on a desperate Kings XI Punjab on Friday.

updated: May 15, 2009 18:19 IST
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Having already secured a place in the semi-finals after their thrilling 12-run win over Deccan Chargers on Wednesday, Delhi Daredevils would be keen to continue the good work when they take on a desperate Kings XI Punjab in their Indian Premier League match here on Friday.

If Delhi are on a high after becoming the first team to qualify for the last four stage with 16 points from 10 matches, Punjab have been laid low by some rather inconsistent performance that see them second from the bottom of the points table in the eight-team event.

They Yuvraj Singh-led side desperately need a victory against the marauding Daredevils if they hope to make it to the semi-finals but doing so will be one huge task given the rich vein of form the Delhi is going through right now.

Kings XI Punjab need to pull out something special of the hat and one man who can do that is skipper Yuvraj himself. He had a rather sedate tournament so far and is long overdue a big score.

The others too need to chip in and if their last encounter against Mumbai Indians is anything to go by, then a lot need to be done in their batting department.

To add to that Mahela's Jayawardene's hamstring injury still remains a matter of concern for the Punjab thinktank. The Sri Lankan didn't feature in the last match after sustaining the injury against Deccan Chargers on May 9.

The bowling has improved with Brett Lee's arrival but lacks the bite despite the presence of left-arm pacers Yusuf Abdulla and Irfan Pathan. S Sreesanth has been a big disappointment for the Kings XI with the maverick right-arm pacer scalping just one wicket from his three outings conceding huge runs.

The Kings XI bowling will be tested to the limit against a formidable Daredevils batting line-up that boasts the likes of Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, David Warner, AB de Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dinesh Karthik. All of them are in fine form and the best part of Delhi's batting is that even if one fails, the rest are there to shoulder the burden.

The bowling department too is quite balanced with youngsters Pradeep Sangwan and Rajat Bhatia giving Ashish Nehra and Dirk Nannes good company. In Amit Mishra, Delhi have a quality spinner who can put the opposition in all sorts of trouble.

Still, bowling could be a cause of concern for Sehwag especially after the manner in which Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds hammered their way in the last match.

It needed a Bhatia special to turn things around for Delhi but Sehwag must be aware that such things don't happen everyday.

Kings XI Punjab would also hope that for once the Delhi batting fails to fire for it will be their only hope for survival in this year's IPL.