The way Kings XI Punjab have performed in the last few games, they deserve to be in the playoffs of IPL 4. But things in cricket are not that simple and they need another superlative effort in their last league match against Deccan Chargers on Saturday and loads of luck to have any chance of finishing among the top four.
Holding a wafer-thin chance of making the playoffs, they are up against a team placed in the lower half of the points table and depleted by the departure of their skipper Kumar Sangakkara.
But things will not be that easy for them, as they will be up against a team possessing a potent new ball attack in Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma on a pitch that affords swing and bounce.
The spin to the tale will be provided by Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha. Undoubtedly, it will be a battle royal between KXIP batsmen and DC bowlers at the picturesque HPCA stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It is to the credit of KXIP that their late resurgence in the tournament has kept the interest, as far as qualification is concerned, alive.
They have kept both Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians on the toes. Both teams know that if they slip here, they could still miss the playoff.
A KXIP win on Saturday would mean that the qualifying battle would go down to the wire, right to the final league match between KKR and MI in Kolkata on Sunday night.
KXIP have been on a roll, winning their last four games, which include two top teams, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore, and now run into a team who have held a lot of promise but delivered little.
Stand-in Deccan Chargers skipper Cameron White said that it was frustrating to be at the receiving end in the majority of games.
“We have played some very good cricket. If you see the margin of the eight games we have lost, you will feel we should actually have won some of them. We have lost by barely ten runs. A couple of poor overs, a couple of missed catches or a couple of big strikes have cost us dear. You could say we have lost the big moments. However, going into the last match we would like to sign off on a high. Having won our last two matches, our franchise wouldn’t mind if we spoil KXIP’s party.”