Up in the hills, Kings XI look heavenwards

Dharamsala -- Its deja vu again for Kings XI Punjab. Like last year, they are still in with a chance of making it to play-offs going into the last two league games. Even if they win their last two matches, they will still have to depend on other results to qualify.

KXIP's hopes will end if Hyderabad win either of their last two matches or Bangalore win their last home match against league leaders Chennai Super Kings. Delhi Daredevils, having lost all their away games so far and down in dumps, will be required to bat out of their skins to buck the trend on Thursday.

As the two sides face each other in the cool climes of Dharamsala, KXIP, having mathematically earned a lifeline with Tuesday's win in Bangalore, will be looking to keep their hope of play-offs alive by defeating their demoralised opponents.

But a win is easier said then done for the inconsistent Punjab. A day of brilliant performance has invariably been followed by a string of below-par efforts. Time and again individual brilliances have put the team on the right course, like Adam Gilchrist and Azhar Mahmood did against RCB.

But their problem has been the indifferent form of domestic players - Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra and R Satish. The 'hosts' have also leaked runs in the death overs. Against RCB, they went for 63 runs in the last five overs.

If KXIP win and make it to play-offs, it will be more due to luck. The management of both teams will already be eying next year's auctions for a complete overhaul.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

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