Rivals with different mindsets

Dharamsala: When Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils meet at the HPCA Stadium on Thursday they will do so with different mindsets.

Punjab are on a high after a dominating victory against heavyweights Royals Challengers Bangalore in an away match on Tuesday and are still in with a mathematical chance of making it to the play-offs, while Delhi seem to be going through the motions in their defeat against Chennai Super Kings, their fourth in a row, on the same day.

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Punjab have the psychological edge over their rivals for three reasons – they have won six matches in 14 attempts against Delhi’s three, they have beaten the latter in an away match by five wickets, and are playing in front of a home crowd.

Punjab might not have clicked as a unit, but their batsmen are in excellent form. Skipper Adam Gilchrist scored 85 off 54 balls in the win over Bangalore on Tuesday.

His Australian compatriots Shaun Marsh and Luke Pomersbach, and explosive South African batsman David Miller have also played good knocks and can intimidate the Delhi bowling line-up.

Azhar Mahmood, who, on Tuesday, played his first match after April 29 and was effective with his 41-ball-61 and two wickets, could be the utility players against Delhi. Punjab’s medium pacers are their main asset in the bowling department.

Mahmood (13 wickets in nine matches), Parvinder Awana (13 in 12), Praveen Kumar (10 in 13) and MS Gony (seven in eight) have done their job well and their swing can put Delhi batsmen to test.

The way Delhi are playing this season, it will be a big achievement if can manage to put Punjab out of contention on Thursday. The lacklustre form of Delhi’s top-order batsmen has hurt their chances badly.

David Warner has scored some runs but Mahela Jayawardene and Virender Sehwag are completely out of form, and Unmukt Chand is still to make a mark in the tournament.

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