When hit, the ball will stay hit in this hill station. The bowlers will have extra work to do during the Kings XI Punjab versus Delhi Daredevils Indian Premier League match at the HPCA Stadium on Sunday.
“I’ve been told the ball goes a long way here (because of the altitude). The bowlers will have to be good to handle the pressure. We might see some big hits, and that means a lot of running around for the fielders," Delhi Daredevils coach Greg Shipperd said.The Kings XI and Daredevils players have been presented with conditions completely different to what they have been used to so far in the league.
Located at the foothills of the Dhauladhar range with snowcapped peaks forming a beautiful backdrop, the ground is at an altitude of 1,317 metres above sea level. Having toiled in the heat and humidity of the plains, the weather will be pleasant, which means the swing bowlers will not mind the nip in the air.
"From my experience of playing here last year (for DC) it's a lovely batting wicket, very similar to Mohali, and it's one of the most beautiful ground in the world," said Kings XI skipper Adam Gilchrist.
Gilchrist's men have kept the Dharamsala-leg of home games alive with a superb six-wicket win over Kochi Tuskers Kerala on Friday.
Kings XI’s chances, to a large extent, will depend on their batting, and the Daredevils are wary of it. They have lacked consistency but Gilchrist, Paul Valthaty, Shaun Marsh and Dinesh Karthik have pulled off some stunning chases.
The HPCA wicket is known to be a true surface and the aggressive Valthaty should love it. The opener has not sustained his brilliant start, but his skipper backed him to come good. “He’s that sort of player; he takes risk and it's natural that sometimes he will get out early. It doesn't mean he is out of form or has lost touch. His 10-ball 20s are very important.”
The Punjab bowlers though will have to pull up their socks if the team has to run the top teams close in the playoff race.
Out of contention, it will be interesting to see how Delhi turns out without the pressure of having to qualify.