All’s not well in the Kings XI Punjab camp with report of an altercation between team owner Preity Zinta and mentor Virender Sehwag.
According to the Mumbai Mirror, Zinta had a heated argument with Sehwag following their last game against Rajasthan Royals which the team lost by 15 runs.
In that game, captain Ravi Ashwin batted at No3 ahead of more recognised batsmen.That move didn’t work as Punjab slumped to their third defeat in four games.
The report states Zinta questioned Sehwag’s tactics, which hasn’t pleased the former India batsman. Apparently, Sehwag had earlier spoken to the team’s other owners to rein in Zinta.
Kings XI are third in the points table but recent results have taken the sheen away from a fine start to the IPL 2018 campaign.
The Royals’ 150-run win over Kings XI Punjab means their play-off hopes remain alive after what has been a disappointing season for them despite the riches in their squad.
On the other hand, the Super Kings are very much in-form after having won seven out of 10 games so far and are on the verge of clinching a playoff spot.
CHAHAR RETURNS FOR CHENNAI
MS Dhoni-led Chennai have been handed a big boost ahead of Friday’s clash with pacer Deepak Chahar deemed fit for selection after overcoming his hamstring injury. The Rajasthan-based pacer has been impressive with the new ball for the Super Kings and he will be determined to put on a show at a venue where he plays his first-class cricket.
ROYALS NEED TO CONTINUE WINNING MOMENTUM
The win over Kings XI was only Rajasthan’s fourth of the season and came after a string of four successive losses. With four games remaining for Ajinkya Rahane’s men, the Royals will need to win all of them while also hoping their net run-rate improves drastically.
At home, they will back themselves against any opposition with their impressive record at ‘Fortress Jaipur’ where they have 27 of the 28 matches played at the venue.
PLAYER IN FOCUS
Rajasthan’s Jos Buttler was having a very average campaign by his standards before he was promoted to open the innings by skipper Ajinkya Rahane.
That move has paid off well for the Royals and Buttler who has since then gone on to register three consecutive half centuries on the bounce. His 82-run knock was the catalyst for Rajasthan’s victory over Hyderabad and the hosts will want the Englishman to fire again come Friday given the kind of form he is in.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Stuart Binny, K Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Ish Sodhi, Anureet Singh.
Chennai Super Kings: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, Dhruv Shorey, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, David Willey, Harbhajan Singh, Lungi Ngidi, Shardul Thakur
With the loss, Delhi’s hopes of making the playoffs were completely extinguished as they remained rooted to the bottom of the table with eight defeats in 11 matches.
Batting first, the Daredevils put up 187-5 in their 20 overs. In reply, league leaders Sunrisers romped home to victory with seven balls to spare ultimately.
Here, we look at the key talking points from the clash.
SHAKIB JOLTS DELHI EARLY
Prithvi Shaw has been getting Delhi Daredevils off to some electric starts in the recent matches. When he and Jason Roy started off in fine fashion on Thursday, it looked like the Daredevils would run away to a huge score in powerplay.
Then, Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan changed the entire complexion in the fourth over of the innings. The left-arm spinner took pace off the ball brilliantly to get Shaw to miscue a pull straight into the air for a comfortable catch for Shikhar Dhawan. Then, with the very next delivery, Shakib found the outside edge off Roy’s bat with some sharp dip and turn and wicket-keeper Shreevats Goswami made no mistake.
From 21-0, all of a sudden the hosts were reduced to 21-2 with Sunrisers on the ascendancy.
PANT’S TROUBLES WITH RUN-OUTS CONTINUE
After the fall of the two early wickets, Delhi’s hopes rested on Rishab Pant and skipper Shreyas Iyer. The two were just starting to form a partnership when disaster struck in the form of a run-out.
Pant took off for a single after inside-edging a Sandeep Sharma delivery onto his pads. The batsman had a change of heart half-way down the pitch but by then it was too late for Iyer to get back safely into his crease at the non-striker’s end.
Pant, who has been involved in a couple of run-outs in the tournament before Thursday’s clash, was then involved in the second of the night with Hershal Patel being the unfortunate victim. Once again, Pant changed his mind belatedly leaving the other batsman with no chance to make it back to his crease.
PANT SLAMS EXPLOSIVE TON TO MAKE UP FOR RUN-OUTS
The second run-out of the night seemed to hit Pant hard who took it upon himself to make up for those poor misjudgements. Batting with clear anger and aggression, the left-handed youngster took apart everything in his wake as no Sunrisers bowler was spared.
After reaching his half-century off 36 balls, the 20-year-old changed gears drastically as he lit up the Feroz Shah Kotla with some ferocious hitting. The likes of Rashid Khan, Siddharth Kaul and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were all taken to the cleaners as Pant hit his stride. The Delhi batsman notched up his maiden IPL ton off 56 balls with his second half-century coming off just 20 balls.
He then gave Delhi the perfect finish with three sixes and two boundaries off Bhuvneshwar as 26 runs came off the final over. In the end, Pant remained unbeaten on 128 (63) with the help of a staggering 15 boundaries and seven sixes.
DHAWAN AND WILLIAMSON MAKE MOCKERY OF DAREDEVILS TOTAL
A chase of 188 would be a daunting task for any side but the ease with which Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson achieved it was outstanding. The visitors lost the wicket of Alex Hales early as Delhi started brightly with the ball. That was as good as it got for the hosts though as Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson put on a clinic on how to chase big scores with minimal risks. The two batsmen barely resorted to slogging or hitting the ball in anger.
They played conventional cricket strokes while sending every poor ball to the boundary fence. On a pitch which was a goldmine for batsman, they never gave the hosts a sniff by keeping ahead of the asking-rate at all times. Dhawan and Williamson remained unbeaten on 92 and 83 respectively till the end as they got their side over the line in the most impressive of fashions.
Their unbroken partnership for the second wicket of 176 runs is the highest in the IPL this year.