Fresh from their two Super Overs thriller against Mumbai Indians (MI), Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will square off against Delhi Capitals (DC) - a side against whom they earlier were involved in a Super Over-finish - in Match 38 of the Dream11 Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
KXIP had their share of ups and downs in the tournament so far, but the KL Rahul-led unit held its nerves to seal two successive wins - first against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and then against MI.
The Kings XI's three wins from nine games is nowhere near an accurate description of how they have played at times. They controlled large parts of a few matches they contrived to lose - their season-opener against the Capitals, which they lost in a Super Over, is one of three games they would look back at as ones they ought to have won. And with the mid-table traffic not far behind the top-four places, all it will take is a couple of wins from here to get into serious playoffs contention. Chris Gayle's inclusion in the line-up has added a delicate but vital balance, freeing up captain KL Rahul to bat more freely in the powerplay to cash in on his run of fantastic form.
On the other hand, DC have been one of the most consistent sides of the season and having won seven games out of nine, they are occupying the top spot in the points table. As they take on KXIP, Shreyas Iyer and Co will be looking to consolidate their position.
With Rishabh Pant having started training, his return from a hamstring injury must be around the corner, but even without him, the batting has been helmed excellently by Shikhar Dhawan, fresh off his maiden IPL century. Their chief driving force is arguably the league's most balanced bowling attack, with spinners R Ashwin and Axar Patel perfectly complementing the heavy-metal pace duo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, with Tushar Deshpande settling in nicely.
The last time these two sides squared off, they played out the IPL 2020's first Super Over. While DC came out on top on that occasion, KXIP will be looking to secure their third win on the bounce.
The weather at Dubai is expected to be warm and humid with temperatures touching 38 degree celsius.
With the pitches in Dubai slowing down considerably as the game progresses, it's been difficult on chasing sides. DC would know it better than anyone, having only just won their first game while chasing. Toss, therefore, assumes greater importance here.
Toss has been a crucial factor in this season's IPL. Considering the pitch, team that wins the toss should bat first. Teams are now batting first because the pitch slows down while chasing. The team batting first should be seen as having a big advantage.
Stats and Facts
Head to head at this venue:
KXIP 0 - 1 DC
KXIP at this venue: Played 6, Won 3, Lost 3
DC at this venue: Played 6, Won 5, Lost 1
KL Rahul needs one six to complete 100 IPL sixes.
Chris Gayle is 65 runs away from completing 1000 IPL runs for KXIP.
Shikhar Dhawan requires 63 runs to complete 5000 IPL runs.
Prithvi Shaw needs 6 fours to complete 100 IPL fours.
KXIP: KL Rahul (C,wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, M Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami
DC: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer (C), Shimron Hetmyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Tushar Deshpande, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje
Players to Watch Out For:
KXIP: KL Rahul, Nicholas Pooran, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi
DC: Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada
SantaBanta's Winner Prediction: Delhi Capitals
IPL 2020 Winner Live Odds
Mumbai Indians - 3
Delhi Capitals - 3.5
Royal Challengers Bangalore - 4.333
Kolkata Knight Riders - 8.5
Kings XI Punjab - 17
Rajasthan Royals - 21
Chennai Super Kings - 26
Sunrisers Hyderabad - 29
Match Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai
Time: 7:30 PM IST
TV: Star Sports Network
Live Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar VIP