IPL: Sunday 13 May Preview

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We head into the final double-header of the round-robin stage of the IPL this Sunday. 

While the Supergiant are guaranteed a berth in the play-off stage of the tournament, the Kings XI can no longer advance following the Sunrisers Saturday victory over the Gujarat Lions.

The Royal Challengers cannot, in no uncertain terms, lift themselves from the very bottom of the eight-team standings. Delhi, though, could top the bottom half.

RPS v KXIP | Sunday, 14 May | Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune | 12:30

To Win Match
Supergiant 82/100  Tie 35/1 | Kings XI 1/1

The only team who haven't been defeated at their home ground this season, Pune are eager to keep their record unblemished - and will again demand a complete, all-round performance. Arguably the most balanced XI in the competition, they're well placed to oblige.

Hot on the heels of last week's five-wicket haul against defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad, seamer Jaydev Unadkat will be the homegrown talent to watch among a cosmopolitan attack lined with Englishman Ben Stokes and South African Imran Tahir.

Pune met Punjab as early as the fourth match of the tournament on 8 April, when opposing skippers Glenn Maxwell and Steven Smith were still finding their feet in their respective newfound environments. They're both settled now - and primed to outdo each other.

Sunday's visitors have lost their Proteas contingent - batsmen Hashim Amla and David Miller. The latter won't be missed, but the former's lack of presence at the top of the order threatened a gaping hole. The talented Wriddhiman Saha, though, as comfortably stepped in.

Punjab were marvelous in posting the highest total of this year's tournament against Mumbai, but then almost threw it away with an abject bowling display. Maxwell simply has to back himself to bowl more.

Those right-arm sliders of his have a knack for breaking big partnerships, which will be key against a Supergiant order renowned for large alliances. As always, seamers Mohit Sharma and Sandeep Sharma will need to dovetail each other well.

Verdict: Kings XI Punjab 1/1
The Supergiant have persisted with the struggling Ajinkya Rahane throughout the season and, if Punjab can exploit his weaknesses and scratch at the struggles of others, quickly, they have the formidable batting unit to complete the job.

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DD v RCB | Sunday, 14 May 2017 | Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi | 16:30

To Win Match
Daredevils 92/100 | Tie 35/1 | Royal Challengers 92/100
Delhi have swung between brilliant and awful, several times, this season. Large, successful chases have been undone by record-low scores, while their bowlers flit between severe expense and sound economy. Equilibrium beckons, but might not be answered.

Like the Kings XI Punjab, the Daredevils have lost their South African stars. They'll be able to cover in the absence of fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, but all-rounder Chris Morris is very tough to replace. New Zealander Corey Anderson, then, has to shoulder a lot of responsibility.

West Indian Carlos Brathwaite, too, will be expected to deliver with bat and ball. Delhi, however, will be most anticipant of big performances from Indians Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant. Their individual successes have embodied the tournament's penchant for unearthing gems in the shadows of the overseas stars.

Having started the season with lofty ambition to finally claim a maiden title, the Royal Challengers now find themselves scraping for last-gasp pride - and can perhaps cast an eye to next season with Sunday's showing.

Their over-reliance on the big-hitting Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli and Shane Watson caught up with them quickly. Watson, a veteran of several IPL seasons, has publicly exclaimed this has been his worst yet. Indeed.

Victories have been few and far between for Bangalore, but they will take example and inspiration from 8 April's 15-run win over Delhi in this return fixture. Typical of Gayle and company's underwhelming performance, the underestimated Pawan Negi and Kedar Jadhav will again be vital a month later.

Verdict: Delhi Daredevils 92/100
While the Feroz Shah Kotla hasn't quite been the fortress Delhi would have hoped, it'll suit them more than their opponents, who aren't nearly in form enough to successfully negotiate the trying conditions.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for @Hollywoodbets.net

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