<
>
Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Kings XI, Capitals focus on error-free cricket with playoff spot looming

play
Dasgupta: Delhi should pick Lamichhane in place of Paul (8:03)

Deep Dasgupta and Shaun Tait on how Delhi Capitals can turn things around at home (8:03)

Big picture

Whose home is Feroz Shah Kotla anyway? As with the most cosmopolitan city of India, you can't say for sure for Delhi's international cricket ground either. Delhi Capitals, who call it home, have struggled not just for home support but also for a pitch conducive to their style of play. As a result, they have won just one of their four home games, the worst success ratio at home this year. It is their four wins in five away games that have kept them in playoffs contention, but they know they need to find a way at home too.

It doesn't help that the ground staff have only a day's break to work on a pitch that, in the words of home captain Shreyas Iyer, keeps getting worse. It is a slow and low surface that is aiding spinners, something Capitals' next opponents should dearly love. Kings XI Punjab have the two Ashwins and Mujeeb Ur Rahman in their ranks to exploit exactly those conditions. They also have a batting line-up that hasn't been over-shooting, the virtues of which were displayed by Mumbai Indians in their win on Thursday night when they went for 140 and ended up getting 168 because they had played themselves into a good situation.

At 10 points each from nine games, both sides have done well enough to dream of the playoffs, but not yet enough to feel confident of making the cut. Matches where they can't afford to make mistakes await.

In the news

Chris Morris, left out of the South Africa World Cup squad, will be under pressure to keep his place in the Capitals' side after he went for 39 in three overs on what was widely acknowledged as a difficult pitch. If Capitals do drop him for legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane, they might need a bit of a rejig somewhere to bolster their batting.

Kings XI are waiting on Mujeeb's fitness, who has made good progress since injuring his shoulder in their last game. A decision on his availability was to be made after the training session on the night before the match. Moises Henriques is out "for a period of time" after injuring himself in the warm-ups ahead of the last game.

Previous meeting

Members of the Capitals squad could be forgiven if they still get nightmares about their last match against Kings XI, when they lost seven wickets for eight runs to mess up what looked like a straightforward chase in Mohali.

Likely XIs

Delhi Capitals: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Prithvi Shaw, 3 Colin Munro, 4 Shreyas Iyer (capt.), 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Chris Morris, 7 Keemo Paul, 8 Axar Patel, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Amit Mishra, 11 Ishant Sharma

Kings XI Punjab 1 KL Rahul, 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Mayank Agarwal, 4 Sarfaraz Khan, 5 Mandeep Singh, 6 Nicholas Pooran (wk), 7 Sam Curran, 8 Hardus Viljoen/Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 9 R Ashwin (capt.), 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 M Ashwin

Strategy punt

  • The Powerplay and death overs become all the more important on a tired pitch such as Delhi's. Mumbai attacked Capitals in the first six and in the last five, getting 121 of their 168 runs in those 11 overs.

  • Expect Kings XI to try to ensure there is one left-hand batsman in the middle at all times. That played havoc with Capitals' plans of using Amit Mishra, who ended up bowling only three overs against Mumbai.

  • Capitals have extra reasons to bat first in this game because if they do so, Kings XI can't take as many liberties with substituting Chris Gayle and Sarfaraz Khan as they do when they have already batted first.

Stats that matter

  • Kings XI Punjab have won the last four games between these two teams. They lead the head to head 14 games to nine.

  • Mayank Agarwal, who might be batting in the middle overs for Kings XI, doesn't have a great record against Chris Morris, Amit Mishra and Axar Patel.

  • Ishant Sharma is two short of 100 Twenty20 wickets.

Capitals 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st24S DhawanPP Shaw
2nd92S DhawanSS Iyer
3rd12SS IyerRR Pant
4th27CA IngramSS Iyer
5th1AR PatelSS Iyer
6th10SS IyerSE Rutherford