IPL 9: Punjab face uphill task against table-toppers Gujarat

May 01, 2016, 12:05 IST | Haresh Pandya

Rajkot: With six wins in seven matches, including last two thrillers off the final ball, Gujarat Lions are roaring alarmingly and pose a serious threat to the demoralised Kings XI Punjab, who have registered a solitary victory from six outings. Kings are at the bottom of the points table.

The Lions had subjugated the Kings in their very first encounter, at Mohali last month. Much water has flown in the Sutlej and the Sabarmati since. While the Lions have rolled on like the juggernaut and emerged the top team of the IPL-9, a string of shock defeats have reduced the Kings to a haggard lot.

Kings XI Punjab. Pic/ AFP

Boasting of an array of star players, the Kings have failed to put up a satisfactory performance. While Murali Vijay has been inconsistent and Glenn Maxwell erratic with bat, David Miller seems to have buckled under the weight of captaincy.

While leading batsmen have let the Kings down more often than not, the bowlers are not far behind.

What the Kings need to restore their confidence and uplift their morale is a convincing win. And nothing can be more encouraging if it comes against the rampaging Lions in their own den. Though it is a daunting task, given the two rivals’ contrasting current form, it is not impossible either. All the Kings need is to start believing in themselves and play like a team. On the other hand, the Lions can only get better. In the beginning, Aaron Finch’s three fifties paved the way for three successive run-chases. Now the dynamism of Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum at the start of the innings has had a terrific effect on the team.

Like most matches in Rajkot, this one too promises to be a run feast. Smith, McCullum, Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik are in fine nick. And if Vijay, Maxwell and Miller regain their touch, it will be a cracker of a contest for the cricket crazy Rajkotians.

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