IPL: Delhi, Punjab aim to bounce back 

New Delhi, April 14 (IANS) Having lost their respective opening matches, Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab will aim to return to winning ways when they face each other in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the Ferozshah Kotla Stadium here on Friday.

Delhi, the perennial under-achievers of the IPL, were thrashed by nine wickets by the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens. The Delhi batsmen were guilty of poor shot selection on a spinning track and were bundled out for a mere 98 runs after being asked to bat first.

Opener Quinton De Kock was the only Delhi batsman who looked somewhat comfortable on the difficult track before being dismissed by Andre Russell. The South African will once again have the responsibility of giving Delhi a good start before big hitters such as Carlos Brathwaite, Sanju Samson and Chris Morris bring out the heavy artillery. Much will also depend on young Indian batsmen like Mayank Agarwal, Shreyas Iyer and Karun Nair.

The Delhi bowling was rather toothless in the last match. Skipper Zaheer Khan was rather expensive, giving away 24 runs in 2.1 overs. The likes of Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Morris and Amit Mishra will hope to do better in their own den.

Brathwaite was the only Delhi bowler who did well in Kolkata and he will be hoping to continue his good form in front of his home crowd.

Punjab on the other hand, was torn apart by a whirlwind innings from Aaron Finch and went down to newcomers Gujarat Lions by five wickets.

Openers Murali Vijay and Manan Vohra had given them a promising start. But the middle-order batsmen could not built on it. A 22-ball 33 by Marcus Stoinis lower down the order helped Punjab put up a competitive total of 161/9.

The Punjab bowlers also need to pull up their socks. Former Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson was a shadow of his former self while Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Pradeep Sahu and Marcus Stoinis also conceeded plenty of runs.

Both teams were disappointing last season as Punjab finished at the bottom of the points table while the DareDevils were a rung higher. A win on Friday could go a long way towards building up some crucial momentum as last season’s laggards strive to turn their fortunes around in 2016.

The squads:

Delhi Daredevils: Zaheer Khan (captain), Amit Mishra, Shreyas Iyer, Mohammad Shami, Saurabh Tiwary, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mayank Agarwal, Jayant Yadav, Travis Head, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Imran Tahir, JP Duminy, Albie Morkel, Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), Pawan Negi, Chris Morris, Sanju Samson, Carlos Brathwaite, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant, Joel Paris, Sam Billings, Chama Milind, Pratyush Singh, Mahipal Lomror, Saeed Khaleel Ahmed, Akhil Herwadkar, Pawan Suyal.

Kings XI Punjab: David Miller (captain), Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Manan Vohra, Murali Vijay, Nikhil Naik, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Akshar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mitchell Johnson, Wriddhiman Saha (wicketkeeper), Anureet Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Kyle Abbott, KC Cariappa, Marcus Stoinis, Farhaan Behardien, Pradeep Sahu, Armaan Jaffer, Swapnil Singh.

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