Vizag: Their pride bruised following disastrous campaigns, Kings XI Punjab and Rising Pune Supergiants will look for a graceful exit from the ninth edition of the IPL when they square off against each other for one last time, here on Saturday.
Supergiants are coming into the contest after a victory over Delhi Daredevils at the same venue, their home ground, while Punjab have lost their last two outings — against RCB and table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Punjab’s fourth and last win this season had come at this very ground, when they had got the better of Mumbai Indians. To make an early exit from this tournament is a completely different zone for Supergiants skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has excelled as a leader in all the previous editions. But never before has he been saddled with the kind of injury crisis that he dealt with this year.
The debutantes had hoped for better results after packing their squad with star performers such as Kevin Pietersen, Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis and Mitchell Marsh apart from handing the reins of the team to charismatic Dhoni. However, none of the overseas players could last the length of the tournament, exiting on account of injuries. There was little Dhoni could do given the acute scarcity of resources he faced. For Punjab, it was a repeat of the previous seasons....