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The competition is getting tougher as the Indian Premier League has reached a stage where every match is a virtual knock-out for the bottom dwellers. The 38th match of the IPL 2020 is scheduled to take place between the Kings Xl Punjab and the table toppers Delhi Capitals at the Dubai International Stadium.

Kings Xl Punjab after the return of the ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle has been a completely different team as he has once again been the bridge to victory, The hopes of KXIP are still alive and they will be fighting hard to climb their way up the table.  While, Delhi Capitals are one win away from assuring a place in the play-offs.

The Punjab team will come into this match on the back of a nail-biting encounter against the Mumbai Indians. Rohit Sharma after winning the toss elected to bat first at the Dubai stadium. The defending champions were reduced to 38/3 in the first 5 overs. But the half-century of Quinton de Kock combined with the late surge of the West Indian star Kieron Pollard and Australian all-rounder Nathan Coulter- Nile ensured the team put a good score of 176 on the board.

The Kings Xl Punjab once again had a wonderful start to their chase as KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal set the platform well. With 9 runs needed in the last over, the script was being written for one of the most epic thrillers in the history of IPL. With the first super-over not being able to separate the sides, the second super-over saw MI score 11 runs. This time though Chris Gayle was the one for KXIP to take the strike and he did what he does the best by towering the ball down the very first ball and Mayank Agarwal finished the formalities.

The Delhi Capitals too had a thrilling finish against the Chennai side as they required 16 runs of the last over. With Dwayne Bravo having to be taken out of the field, it was up to Jadeja to defend the last over. The Delhi team was expecting the centurion Shikhar Dhawan to get them over the line. But, Axar Patel had different plans as he hit the CSK star for back to back sixes and finished off the game with another maximum.

The last time these two sides met ended up with the super- over deciding the best team. What are the odds it could happen? Can DC get past the line and confirm their berth? Or will KL Rahul and Co. climb one more step in the ladder?

Head to Head

Matches Played- 25, KXIP- 14, DC- 10, Tie- 1

Team News

The Kings Xl Punjab have not reported any injuries and are likely to feature the same Xl that handed them wins over the RCB and MI. Though, Glenn Maxwell has not been contributing with the bat. The Australian has been doing a decent job with the ball. Given his potential and ability, the all-rounder is likely to keep his place in the playing Xl.

Delhi Capitals seem invincible at the moment and are comfortably placed at the top of the table with 7 wins. With the team winning back to back matches and seldom tasting defeat, the management will not want to fiddle with the winning combination.

Pitch and Conditions

The pitch in Dubai has been more friendly to the batsmen. Said that, the occasional odd bounce and spin has favored the slower bowlers. As seen in the last few matches any score of 170 plus by the team batting first seems to put the team chasing in trouble. 

The conditions as expected are once again ideal for cricket. The temperatures are expected to be hovering in the early 30 degree mark. While the humidity is reported to be on the lower side- 50- 52% mark throughout the duration of the match.

As the match is scheduled to take place in the evening the due factor may come into play.

Probable Playing Xl

Kings Xl Punjab (KXIP): KL Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh

Delhi Capitals (DC): Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer (c), Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wk), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Tushar Deshpande, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje

Key Battles

KL Rahul (KXIP) vs Kagiso Rabada (DC)

KL Rahul (KXIP) vs Kagiso Rabada (DC)

Is there any way to stop the onslaught of the KXIP captain? He looks to be in the form of his life and scoring runs seems to be a cakewalk for the opener. The current orange cap holder has now made a clear pathway between him and his fellow opener Mayank Agarwal as Rahul is now a whopping 133 runs ahead. It would not be a surprise to see the wicket-keeper batsman once again widen the margin by playing a stunner of an innings.

On the other side Delhi Capitals have the best bowler in the tournament this season- Kagiso Rabada. If Rahul is making a statement with the bat, the proteas pacer has been making one with the ball. He currently has picked up 19 wickets in the 9 matches and is ahead of the second best by 4 wickets. He also became the fastest to 50 wickets (27 matches) by picking up the wicket of Faf du Plessis in the match against Chennai Super Kings. 

In the battle of the Orange cap vs Purple cap. Who do you think will prevail?

Shikhar Dhawan (DC) vs Mohammad Shami (KXIP)

Shikhar Dhawan (DC) vs Mohammad Shami (KXIP)

The Indian opener and former SRH captain Shikhar Dhawan started the season with a few mediocre performances. But, the left- hander seems to be invincible at the moment as he has played some stunning knocks in the last few matches and also made a statement by scoring his first hundred in the IPL of a mere 57 balls. He has definitely set the tone for the DC to move further ahead in the tournament and he will be looking forward to capitalizing on his prime touch.

KXIP will know the threat the left-hander possesses and they will be hoping to make his stay at the crease a short one. KXIP would be allotting the mission to the most experienced bowler in their lineup- Mohammad Shami. The 30- year old has been brewing well with time as he was seen bowling exceptionally well in the super over against the Mumbai Indians, where the pacer managed an amazing feat of defending 6 runs against the likes of Rohit Sharma and Quinton de Kock.

Can he pick up his fellow countrymen early? Or will Dhawan be able to twirl his moustache once again?

Prediction

Delhi Capitals might be on top of the table. But, they do have a huge task ahead. Kings Xl Punjab seem to be a totally different side with the arrival of the veteran West Indian Chris Gayle and the team looks highly motivated to make it to the top four. The wins against RCB and MI definitely would have boosted the team’s confidence and they will be looking forward to carrying on that momentum.

The conditions seem good for batting and given the prime form of the KXlP’s batsmen, they could be very hard to stop. Delhi Capitals on the other side would be a bit concerned with the form of Prithvi Shaw, as the youngster has been seen to be struggling to time the ball in the last two games. Can Dhawan continue his prime form?

It does promise to be a thriller of a match once again. Said that, Kings Xl Punjab seem to be doing a wonderful job and are likely to continue that in the upcoming matches.

Cricwizz predicts Kings Xl Punjab to win the match