The Narendra Modi Stadium track has shown that balls tend to grip and batting becomes difficult as the game progresses.
Less than 48 hours after nailing an in-form Royal Challengers Bangalore, Punjab Kings hopes to scalp another front-runner Delhi Capitals on Saturday in a clash that opens the second half of matches in the Indian Premier League.
Having lost to Delhi by six wickets in Mumbai, Punjab has a score to settle. However, its vulnerable middle-order faces scrutiny by some reputed bowlers desperate to perform to their potential.
This ‘Northern Derby’ at Ahmedabad promises a tall scoring encounter. The teams are capable of shifting gears with explosive power from their frontline batsmen. Leading contenders for the Orange Cap – leader K. L. Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw resume the race. With Chris Gayle and Shimron Hetmyer making no secret of their desire to be in the mix and a highly-rated Nicholas Pooran desperate to end his poor form – dotted with four ducks – a few bowlers could come under the pump.
To ensure a playoff-spot, a team needs eight wins. With seven to play, Delhi has five victories and Punjab three.
Clearly, the result assumes more importance for Punjab. It needs a winning run like the one seen in last October with five successive triumphs in the second half of the competition.
Since Punjab plays its last five matches in Bangalore – the last three against off-form Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals – it gives a sense of ‘home-coming’ for Rahul, Gayle and Mayank Agarwal. Therefore, Punjab stays optimistic of its qualifying prospects.
The Teams (From)
Punjab Kings: KL Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Prabsimran Singh, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Harpreet Brar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Darshan Nalkande, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson, Shahrukh Khan, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar.
Delhi Capitals: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Woakes, R Ashwin, Shams Mulani, Amit Mishra, Lalit Yadav, Pravin Dubey, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Ishant Sharma, Avesh Khan, Steve Smith, Umesh Yadav, Ripal Patel, Vishnu Vinod, Lukman Meriwala, M Siddarth, Tom Curran, Sam Billings, Aniruddha Joshi.
Match Starts 7:30 pm.