The 55th match of the Indian Premier League 2014 between the Kings XI Punjab and the Delhi Daredevils at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium of Mohali, Chandigarh was only going to be of academic interest. There might have been some excitement had Delhi Daredevils been in a position to cause an upset in this game staged on May 25, 2014. However, in the end, events unfolded as expected, and the Delhi Daredevils were crushed to their 9th straight loss in this year’s tournament.
Team composition: Both the teams made some changes to the teams that competed in the previous games. Punjab brought in Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson and Parvinder Awana in place of Shaun Marsh, Lakshmipathy Balaji and Beuran Hendricks. Delhi benched Murali Vijay, Wayne Parnell and Siddharth Kaul for this encounter and brought back Mayank Agarwal, Jimmy Neesham and Mohammad Shami.
Batting: The Kings XI once again won the toss and opted to field first. The Daredevils repeated the ineptitude that has characterised its display in the tournament so far, and folded for 115 in just 18.1 overs. Kevin Pietersen made the only score of note, with 58 from 41 balls.
Chasing a small total, the Kings XI got home in just 13.5 overs, losing 3 wickets in the process. Manan Vohra (47 from 38 balls) and David Miller (47 not out from 34 balls) were the highest scorers.
Bowling: The quick bowler Awana was the best bowler on show for the KXIP, with 2 for 15 in 3 overs. However, the other bowlers – Akshar Patel (2 for 28), Karanveer Singh (2 for 22), Mitchell Johnson (2 for 27 in 3.1 overs) and Rishi Dhawan (1 for 22) – had a good day with the ball.
Jaydev Unadkat performed the best with the ball for the DD, with a metronomic spell of 1 for 3 in 2 overs. Shami (1 for 26 in 3 overs) and Imran Tahir (1 for 32 in 3.5 overs) tried hard but their efforts were not sufficient to mask the failure of the other bowlers – Neesham (14 runs in 1 over), JP Duminy (15 runs in 2 overs), and Shahbaz Nadeem (24 runs in 2 overs).
Where do the teams go from here?
The Kings XI Punjab would now be taking on the Kolkata Knight Riders on May 27 in the first match of the play offs. They have a decent side but are over-reliant on the batsmen, thriving when they are able to chase. So, if they are serious about going to the final they needs to address these areas – a well-covered plan would ensure that they are ready for any eventuality.
The Delhi Daredevils would need to go away for a year and think what went wrong with their planning and the resultant execution. Contrary to popular opinion, their team selection was not too bad – maybe the dearth of Indian seam bowling all-rounders was a major issue. They need to identify those areas and work to address them properly during the next auction in 2015. They also need to retain the services of Gary Kirsten and Eric Simones. It may be foolhardy to sack them after just a bad season.