On Sunday, Kings XI Punjab and Pune Warriors India will be there not only to redeem themselves but also to regain some semblance of momentum as the league reaches the half-way mark.
It will be a battle of underachievers and both the teams are still smarting from the horrible losses suffered at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Pune imploded on the field, turning a certain win into a spectacular defeat, while the Kings once again showed the tendency to veer off course after a good start.
Both the teams' problems have been perennial, with their batting failing more often than not. Seldom have all the departments clicked in unison and a win has always been followed by abject surrender. A lot of blame for this has to go to batting, wherein either the bowlers have been given a measly total to defend or the batters have committed hara-kiri in the chase.
Pune lost their last four wickets for the addition of just one run in their loss to Hyderabad, while for two matches in a row, a bowler came to the rescue of the Kings.
Against KKR, Manpreet Singh Gony's long-handle approach provided the necessary impetus, while against Hyderabad it was the turn of Piyush Chawla. Some lusty blows from the spinner managed to swell Kings' total past 120, which still proved too little.
With the domestic talent failing to make an impression, the arrival of a fit Shaun Marsh will be anticipated with bated breath by the Kings.
The southpaw, likely to be available for this match, will give the team more teeth in batting, which till now has buckled under even a slightest hint of pressure.
Pune will also get a big boost with Yuvraj Singh set to play against his former team. For Pune, the problem has been lack of execution and intent from their batters, and with Yuvi in the side, the team can look forward to bolstering its misfiring middle order. The only bright spots for both teams has come in the bowling department.
In the previous meeting between the two teams, KXIP bowlers destroyed Pune and in the return leg, the Warriors would be looking for some revenge. It will be contest between Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Praveen Kumar.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.