About the Match
Rising Pune Supergiant and Kings XI Punjab occupy the fourth and fifth positions respectively in the IPL points table. These two teams will now take on each other in the 55th match of the league at Pune on 14th May. This is the match with everything at stake; as the winning team will make it to the playoffs, and the losing team will have to contend with a fifth position finish.
Rising Pune Supergiant
Rising Pune Supergiant has had an exceptional turnaround in the tournament. At one time, they had played eight games and with wins in half of those, were in a tricky spot; but then they strung together a four-game winning streak, and now find themselves in a position from where they can make the playoffs with just one more win.
Pune started their campaign with an emphatic win over Mumbai Indians. However, they fizzled after that and couldn’t translate the opening success into wins in the matches thereafter. They lost three matches in a row, against Punjab, Delhi, and Gujarat, and kept making changes to the side in a bid to find the perfect winning combination, but failed to do so.
Then against Bangalore, they finally found the right combination and were able to get a much-required win. Then in the next match against Hyderabad, MS Dhoni took Pune home in a nail biter. Pune completed a hat-trick of wins in their next game against Mumbai, holding their nerves to win a close contest. With three wins in a row, Pune looked like gaining some momentum, but without the services of Ben Stokes, they could not overcome a clinical Kolkata, getting defeated in a convincing manner.
Despite this loss, the Pune team bounced back and went on to register four wins in a row against Bangalore, Gujarat, Kolkata and Hyderabad. But when playoffs were there for the taking, Pune choked in the chase and lost to Delhi in their last game.
Despite this loss in its last game, Pune has played some good cricket and is looking like a well-settled unit. They need this win to seal their playoff spot and they would not want to miss out after coming so close.
Kings XI Punjab
Punjab had started their campaign with wins in their first two matches at their second home, Indore, but then went on to lose four games in a row. Punjab began with an emphatic win over Pune and then continued this run in the next match with an absolute thrashing of Royal Challengers Bangalore.
But as they moved away from home, they lost the next three matches to Kolkata, Delhi, and Hyderabad. In their next game against Mumbai, even a return to Indore could not change their fortunes, and they ended up on the losing side.
After four consecutive losses, Punjab was finally able to find a win against Gujarat in their next match. This win did not result in a complete change of fortunes though, as Punjab, missing an injured Amla desperately, surrendered meekly against Hyderabad.
Their see-saw campaign continued in their next match against Delhi, where they absolutely mauled the Daredevils. They continued their ascent in the points table in their next match as well, with a victory over a hapless Bangalore.
In their next game though, Punjab lost to Gujarat; but then when their campaign had entered do or die territory, they went on to defeat Kolkata and Mumbai in their last two games. These wins have kept Punjab in the tournament and now they can make the playoffs with just one more win.
In their last few matches, they seem to have found the right combination which gives them the right balance, and now must utilize the momentum they have got to seal their spot in the top four.
Pune and Punjab are facing each other for the second time this season. Punjab had scored a dominant win in the first encounter. This match being held in Pune will offer the home advantage to the Pune team. Both these teams have had rather good seasons so far, and both would be desperate to make it through. But Punjab has the confidence of having beaten Pune already and is also riding high on the momentum of two consecutive wins, and this gives them slight upper hand in this contest.