In the last three matches, Kings XI have survived a double Super Over against Mumbai Indians, the last-ball finish against Royal Challengers Bangalore, and scored a thumping five-wicket win over table-toppers Delhi Capitals.
IPL 2020 POINTS TABLE
Kings XI’s primary strength is the opening pair of KL Rahul (540) and Mayank Agarwal(398), who are among the top three run-scorers this season. With Chris Gayle coming at first down, both the openers have got the licence to go after the bowling right from the beginning. Gayle, who has only played three matches in the tournament, has shown that he is still a force to reckon with in the T20 format. Gayle set the tone for their chase against Capitals by scoring 26 runs off Tushar Deshpande.
The opening pair’s success has meant that the middle order has been left a bit undercooked. But in the last match, both Nicholas Pooran and Glenn Maxwell came good. The latter getting back among the runs is a big boost for Kings XI.
Death bowling will still be a concern for them, although Mohammed Shami (16 wickets), is the second leading wicket-taker after Delhi Capitals’ Kagiso Rabada. It will be interesting to see if Chris Jordan will be brought back in the playing XI to boost their death bowling or the team management keeps Jimmy Neesham, who did fairly well with both bat and ball.
SRH can’t afford to slip up even one bit after getting their campaign back on track. They have ended their losing streak of three matches but their primary concern is inconsistency. David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson and Manish Pandey have contributed in a few games but have lacked consistency. When two or more of them fail, the pressure shifts to their very young middle order. It’s high time their youngsters, Priyam Garg and Abdul Samad, started taking more responsibility.
On the positive side, Jason Holder, who was brought as a replacement for the injured Mitchell Marsh, impressed in his first match. The West Indies Test skipper came up with figures of 3 for 33 while also affecting a run out against Rajasthan.
Overall, there’s no clear favourite entering the contest. Both teams need to win their remaining four games to stay in the contention for the playoffs.