Kings XI marching to the play-offs

Saturday’s back to back day ends with the in-form Kings XI Punjab taking on the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Match 43 of this year’s Dream11 Indian Premier League. Both teams come in to this one on the back of crucial wins last time out, and will be hopeful of breaking in to the top four as the tournament enters the final stages.

Three on the spin

Ten days ago no one would have been thinking to themselves ‘if Kings XI win their next game they could break in to the top four’ and rightly so. But three win on the bounce, including beating both the Delhi Capitals and the Mumbai Indians has put the Punjab based side in striking distance of a play-off spot. It seems like they have found the right formula with getting Chris Gayle in the side, without breaking up the opening partnership that has been so successful so far.

They dismantled the Delhi Capitals last time out in a five wicket win against a side who looked in very good shape. Two more wickets for Mohammed Shami meant they were chasing 165 to win and apart from Mayank Agarwal who was run out for five, all of the batsman contributed. Nicholas Pooran continued his good IPL so far with 53 as they got to the victory target with a whole over left.

Kings XI will be hoping to break the opening partnership early in this one, unlike they did last time when Jonny Bairstow and David Warner put on 160 for the opening wicket in a 69 run win for the Sunrisers.

How to follow up a huge win?

It was a massive game as 6th took on 7th when the Sunrisers met the Rajasthan Royals on Thursday, and it was the team in orange who took home the points in a match that swung both ways. They bowled pretty well to keep the Royals to 154, with Jason Holder, who was playing his first game in this year’s IPL, taking three wickets.

They were in trouble in the run chase with both openers being dismissed by English paceman Jofra Archer. At 16-2, 155 looked a long way away, but a magnificent partnership between Manish Pandey (83*) and Vijay Shankar (52*) managed to get the Sunrisers home with eight wickets still intact.

Match Tip

This match could go a long way to deciding which teams make the play-off places this year and this is why I think both team will raise their game. It really could go either way but I think Kings XI are on a better winning roll, and that is so important in T20 cricket.

I am backing Kings XI Punjab to hit more fours than the Sunrisers Hyderabad at 2.00 with 888sport.

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