Kings XI Punjab finally have a win that they were so desperately craving for but will have no time to celebrate as they will next be up against table-toppers Delhi Capitals in Dubai on Tuesday. Punjab got the better of defending champions and second-placed Mumbai Indians in a historic double Super Over win with captain KL Rahul once again taking centre stage. Mohammed Shami too was praised for his brilliant showing in the first Super Over, nailing his yorkers to outshine Jasprit Bumrah. But Delhi present a whole new challenge with Shikhar Dhawan in prime form and the DC bowlers firing on all cylinders.
KINGS XI PUNJAB
KL Rahul: It’s starting to get a bit repetitive but it’s hard to leave out a player who has scored over 500 runs this season in a list like this. The KXIP skipper seems to be in the form of his life and has already scored five half-centuries and a hundred in nine games at an astonishing average of 75.
The only negative, if one wants to be hypercritical, is that Rahul is maybe leaving it too late to tee-off, especially while chasing. However, the other side of the argument is that if he gets out, trying to smash the bowlers, are the others, especially the KXIP lower middle-order capable of getting the job done?
Nicholas Pooran: The stylish West Indian left-hander has already shown his class in the tournament. Now, he needs to add a bit more consistency to his game. Nicholas Pooran has done well for KXIP this season so far, scoring 242 runs at an average of 34.57 and a brilliant strike-rate of 181.95. KXIP need Pooran to do the finishing job, especially with KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal doing the business up top.
Mohammed Shami: To keep Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma down to just five runs in the Super Over, can be likened to a match-winning century. That’s how good the Indian pacer was in that crucial juncture for KXIP. In the end, it was the difference between KXIP suffering another heartbreak and coming up trumps against an in-form team. Mohammed Shami has been good throughout the tournament so far, taking 14 wickets from nine games, but with an economy of 8.59, the fast bowler has been a touch expensive.
Shikhar Dhawan: The Indian opener had an iffy start to the tournament, unable to make his starts count. However, he has cashed in the last three games and been just as good or even better than anyone else in the tournament in recent matches. In the last three games, Dhawan has scored 69 not out, 57 and 101 not out. Astonishing numbers when you consider the struggles of Prithvi Shaw at the other end. Delhi Capitals will hope Dhawan continues his run-scoring spree and takes them right to the end.
Shreyas Iyer: The Delhi Capitals skipper has somewhat flown under the radar despite scoring 321 runs in nine matches at an average of 40.12. It only proves the expectations resting on the 25-year-old’s shoulders. But overall, Shreyas Iyer has blown hot and cold. He has been an absolute joy to watch at times, and quite ordinary on other occasions. Iyer will surely like to score more consistently, however, his teammates have picked up the slack whenever he has failed to rise to the occasion.
Kagiso Rabada: Just like KL Rahul with the bat, the South African pacer seems to be in a league of his own with the ball in hand. Kagiso Rabada has had a monopoly over the Purple Cap for much of IPL 2020, and would look to continue that trend. But the likes of Jasprit Bumrah are closing, and Rabada will look to put in another brilliant show to widen the gap to the others.
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