Match 57 Preview: Survival of the Fittest – Kings XI or Tuskers!!

Kochi Tuskers and Kings XI Punjab play a match which will result into survival of the fittest. Eyeing the Points Table both can not afford to lose any match, and playing at Indore pitch, officially at untested ‘Home’ ground for Kochi but alien land for both can provide one of the best thrillers of the IPL 2011.

Having never played against each other, they share no record against each other. But, knowing each other’s game, as both have played 10 games or more at current IPL, can help them in planning for the must-win match for both.

2011 Performances
When Kochi played their first match, they went on to score the highest score of the tournament, scoring 161/5. But Bangalore batsmen chased it. Even Pune Warriors defeated them in the same fashion. But, against Mumbai Indians they realised their batting strength and decided to chase, and earned their first victory. Against Chennai Super Kings also they earned easy victory chasing a high score. Against Knight Riders, Kochi bowlers earned a remarkable victory defending low target. Kochi batsmen failed miserably in the absence of Brendum McCullum and Rajasthan Royals thumped them. Against Deccan Chargers, they reached another low by scoring third lowest total of IPL and losing the match, which they should have won. They lost the last match against DD. After a string of defeats, finally Kochi could win their 4th match, easily thumping Delhi Daredevils at Kotla. Then in the back-to-back match they drubbed KKR again. In their last match they too were victim of Gayle force and were snubbed by RCB.

Kings XI, initially appearing the weakest team, shot into prominence with big wins. They first surprised 2010 champtions Chennai Super Kings at home, and then defeated 2009 champions Deccan Chargers. They earlier lost to Pune Warriors. Continuing their inspirational form, Kings XI humiliated Royals. The match against Delhi Daredevils saw their unsuccessful chase in the high-scoring match. In the last match at Eden KKR handed them heavy defeat. They faced crushing defeat against MI, while in Bangalore Gayle’s record century and all-round performance knocked them out of Chinnaswamy. Pune Warriors thumped them in same fashion again. They scored crushing win over then group topper Mumbai Indians bundling them for one of the lowest IPL score, and made Munaf Patel the only bowler to have registered one of the best bowling performance in the lost cause.

Player’s Performance in 2011
Kochi’s player’s performance index shows McCullum, Jadeja, Hodge and captain Mahela in tremendous forum. Hodge has regained form and approaching 200-mark. Even Parthiv Patel has joined the 100-club. Their bowlers have shown mixed form taking 43 wickets in 11 matches.

Kings XI player performance index indicates how dependent they are on Valthaty. He is no more the current Orange Cap holder, Marsh is going strong, and they have Gilchrist and Karthik in 100-run club. Overall their bowling has improved taking 51 wickets in 11 matches.

Who Will Win Today!!
Their inconsistent form makes it difficult to predict the winner. Yet, overall consistent performance, even in defeat, makes Kochi Tuskers favorite to win. Indore pitch, historically, has helped big hitters and they have many in McCullum, Hodge and Jadeja anchored well by Mahela and Parthiv Patel. If Kings XI batsmen can be more disciplined in the crucial match, they do hold a strong chance. But, can they!!

Key Battles
McCullum/Mahela/Hodge vs Harris/Praveen
With Jadeja hardly getting opportunity to bat, in defeat or victory, despite being in the form of his life McCullum, Mahela and Hodge will be the key batsmen for Kochi. Praveen can be unplayable on his day. But, such days have been rare in current edition. Harris is improving and holds the key to stop the trio from going on rampage. The battle will decide the winner of the match.

Valthaty/Marsh/Gilchrist vs Kochi Bowlers
Valthaty and Marsh are in good form. Specially Marsh looks the most dangerous in Kings XI team. But, Kochi bowlers have a decent performance behind, barring the performance against Gayle-stormed RCB batting. In fact, they are not using Muralitharan shows their bowling strength now. With some tricks up on sleeve, If Kochi bowlers can control Marsh, they can win the game for Kochi.

Mahela vs Kings XI
Ex-Kings XI player Mahela Jayawardene may be set to take the revenge on Preity Zinta’s team, for which he also played for first three editions. His current form shows how destructive he can be. With 217 runs in 11 innings, scoring two half-centuries and many cameos the man on the big mission can be the key game-changer today.

Kings XI Squad
Batsman: Adam Gilchrist (Captain/Keeper), Shaun Marsh, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Vikramjeet Malik, Nitin Saini
Allrounders: David Hussey, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Mandeep Singh
Bowlers: Stuart Broad, Ryan Harris, Ryan McLaren, Nathan Rimmington, Love Ablish, Praveen Kumar, Amit Yadav, Bhargav Bhatt, Bipul Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Siddharth Chitnis, Paras Dogra, Shalabh Srivastava, Sunny Singh, Paul Valthaty

Kochi Tuskers Kerala Squad
Batsman: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Michael Klinger, Brendon McCullum (WK), Owais Shah, VVS Laxman, Kedar Jadhav, Chandan Madan, Parthiv Patel (WK), Yashpal Singh
Allrounder: John Hastings, Brad Hodge, Steve O’Keefe, Thisara Perera, Steven Smith, Ravindra Jadeja,
Bowlers: Muttiah Muralitharan, Sreesanth, Ramesh Powar, RP Singh, Vinay Kumar, Balachandra Akhil, Balachandra Akhil, Deepak Chougule, Gnaneswara Rao, Raiphi Gomez, Sushant Marathe, Prasanth Padmanabhan, Tanmay Srivastava

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