KXIP v SRH: Kings XI in must-win game against Sunrisers

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 as the teams to go out of contention for place in the playoffs.

Though the performances have improved under Murali 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.   -  K. V. S. Giri

After denting Mumbai Indians’ chances of making the playoffs on Friday night, 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 as the teams to go out of contention for place in the playoffs.

Even after reaching a maximum of 14 points, Kings cannot be sure of making the playoffs. Going by the 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 brighter side, Deccan Chargers (2009), Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Hyderabad (2010 and 2015), Mumbai Indians (2014) and Rajasthan Royals (2015) reached the playoff 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. In that respect, Royal Challengers Bangalore, by virtue of its massive 144-run victory over Gujarat Lions, has already gained the best net run-rate, and that could come handy in case of a tie. On that count, 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.

Though softened up by Delhi Daredevils on Thursday, the Sunrisers will have reasons to be upbeat against an inconsistent Kings XI. Though the team’s performance has looked up under Murali 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 the 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. It remains to be seen how Kings XI deals with the attack that was made to look ordinary the other night by Daredevils. Hyderabad starts as an obvious favourite and as always, Kings XI will be happy to begin as an underdog.

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