“The heat is on,” goes the tagline of IPL II and is an apt description of the teams facing off at Kingsmead on Friday. The Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore have both suffered twin defeats on the trot. That the Challengers put it across the Rajasthan Royals on Saturday has suddenly become the distant past.
The blue sky should comfort the Kings XI after their rain blues in the first two games. The targets they set in both matches were reduced following the D/L method and the Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders ended up chasing a lot less than what they had conceded.
But apart from ruing their misfortune, the Kings XI should also accept that their fast bowlers went for plenty in both these games. While bowlers of other teams have exploited the conditions to their advantage, Yuvraj Singh’s seamers have failed on this front. Things don’t look great in terms of reinforcements either.
Even though they have not won after the first match, the Royal Challengers have shown some promise in batting. Rahul Dravid is at his aggressive best and Virat Kohli too is showing signs of coming good.
Their biggest concern should be the lack of big scores from skipper Kevin Pietersen and Jacques Kallis. Their return to form can change things quickly.
Batting remains the biggest hope for the Kings XI.
They got off to a flying start in the first match before losing their way. Against the Knight Riders on Tuesday, they put up a decent total with Irfan Pathan playing a cameo at No. 3. Like the Royal Challengers, they too are waiting for a substantial knock from skipper Yuvraj, who got out after promising starts in both games.
These are early days in IPL II and it’s foolish to write off anybody. But for the teams playing here on Friday, this is the time to bounce back.