Chennai and Punjab ready for shoot out
Kings XI Punjab captain Yuvraj Singh has one of the best bowling attacks of Season 2009 in the DLF Indian Premier League at his disposal, with the likes of Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Abdulla, Brett Lee and Sreesanth.
Interestingly though it is Yuvraj himself that has upstaged all of them in the tournament taking two hat-tricks this Season. Yuvraj Singh though will be hoping that his regular bowlers will get the job done on Wednesday when the Kings XI Punjab take on the Chennai Super Kings in the sides’ final league match in Durban.
Other results may have changed the position on the league table by the start, but the Chennai Super Kings should begin the action in second spot. A win will assure them of second place and a Semi Final spot, while a defeat will mean they have to await the outcomes of other clashes on Thursday.
The Kings XI Punjab, on the other hand, have pulled themselves steadily into the top four, winning three of their last four matches, the last two against sides that were above them in the standings – the Delhi Daredevils and the Deccan Chargers. If they win Wednesday’s encounter they will overtake the Chennai Super Kings, who have long been in the top group.
If you look at the bowling resources Singh has at his disposal, Chennai Super Kings may be heading for a low score at the coast on Wednesday.
Brett Lee on the comeback trail has been quite on song, combining well with the nerveless Indian speedster Irfan Pathan and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth all of whom make a formidable seam trio when on song. And then there’s spin in the form of Piyush Chawla and Ramesh Powar – not forgetting the secret weapon, Singh himself.
Captain Yuvraj Singh had joked after the one-run win against the Deccan Chargers at the Wanderers on Sunday that he should take up bowling, not batting, as his main pursuit. Kings XI Punjab were in desperation street on Sunday against the Deccan Chargers and as Yuvraj Singh said: “Everybody hung in, we knew we would be out if we lost”.
It will be more of the same in Durban on Wednesday, and Singh will be hoping Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene will be back in action to stiffen the batting. Kumar Sangakkara has done an admirable job so far for the Kings XI Punjab in Season 2009 of the DLF IPL, and he, together Jayawardene will be pivots around which the Kings XI Punjab will look to build a large score.
Leading from the front Captain - Yuvraj Singh though is the leading scorer in the team with 334 runs to Sangakkara’s 325, and the skipper and others like Simon Katich will also need to come up with big innings to get their side into the Semis for the second year running.
In the Chennai Super Kings line-up, Orange Cap leader Matthew Hayden will probably need to be at his best to ensure that the Chennai Super Kings do not leave anything to chance in their quest for a Semi Final spot. His performance will be key, although Chennai scored a pretty good 188-3 in their last match against the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni though would be slightly worried with his sides bowling which he described as one of their worst performances in their seven-wicket defeat to the Kolkata Knight Riders last night.
"It is disappointing to lose the match. We had (enough) runs on the board (to defend) but they (Kolkata Knight Riders) had some brilliant batting and on the other hand we had one of the worst bowling performances in the DLF IPL," Dhoni, who was clearly not happy with the effort of his bowlers after the match.
Chennai play Kings XI Punjab tomorrow in their last match and M.S. Dhoni would expect his bowlers to do well as they need to win to make sure they make it to the Semi Finals for a second time around.
"Overall, we need to win the last game. We are a good side and hopefully when we have enough runs to defend our bowlers will bowl a lot better (than Monday)," he said. The worrying fact is that Chennai Super Kings could not defend their score against the KKR, thus, the question Chennai Super Kings would need to find the answer to is: Can they keep a resurgent Kings XI Punjab down?