The Kings XI Punjab play the top team Delhi and will be hoping to do better than what they did at the Kotla. Having beaten the defending champions Chennai, they will be in an even better frame of mind. They need to be careful though of the sting back of the table toppers, who having lost to the Bangalore team will be looking to get back in the winning rhythm again.
The Kolkata Knight Riders beat Mumbai quite comfortably and have also qualified for the playoffs. Punjab and Bangalore's wins have left the fight for the last two places poised most interestingly and it does look at this time that the net run rate could well be a factor. Of course teams at this stage will be first looking only to win the game and not worry about the net run rate.
It is the last game for the Kings XI and they must win it to give themselves a chance to get in the last four. Adam Gilchrist’s return to the game and that too with a quick half century augurs well for the Kings XI team, who have not always got the start that they wanted. It is here that the Bangalore team have been blessed with both Dilshan and Gayle in superb form and invariably getting the team off to electric starts.
Delhi were blown away by Gayle and the Bangalore team would be happy to see the way Kohli was striking the ball. If the top four batsmen of a team score then the team generally has a good total on the board. Sehwag has just lost a bit of the form he had earlier, but he is a dangerous customer if anybody takes him lightly.
Warner too has not quite got into the big hitting mode after his century and these two remain a pair that can take the game away from any team. Maybe now that Delhi have qualified the intensity is not quite there, but form can be elusive if trifled with and in a knockout match there are seldom any comebacks.
The Delhi pace attack is a formidable one and will enjoy bowling in the cooler climes of Dharamsala. Delhi did seem a touch relaxed against Bangalore, but they won’t drop their guard against the Punjab team because another loss will dent their confidence and also send a signal that they are beatable.
The other game is more of a farewell match for the skipper of the Pune Warriors Sourav Ganguly, and as luck would have it is versus his old team Kolkata. The match at the Eden Gardens was an emotional one for many, but this one in Pune will not have the same effect since Pune are out of contention already and with the Kolkata team also having qualified for the playoffs this is a game more for getting some form back for those struggling with it and resting those with some niggles.
If Ganguly can go into the sunset with a typically elegant half century, the result won’t matter.
Professional Management Group