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Two days after the Mumbai Indians and the Kings XI Punjab met at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, the two teams will met yet again. But this time around, it will be the Kings XI Punjab who will play hosts.
Kings XI Punjab, one of the less-fancied teams in the competition, pulled off a shock when they beat the formidable Mumbai Indians in their own backyard. David Hussey’s team is still languishing at the eighth spot in the IPL 2012 table, and they will want to start moving up the table before it is too late.
The Mumbai Indians were rated among the favorites at the start of the tournament, but they haven’t quite justified that billing. They’ve blown hot and cold, and have three wins from their six matches so far. Injuries to Sachin Tendulkar and Lasith Malinga too haven’t helped their cause, nor has playing on surfaces that don’t quite suit their game.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 04:00 p.m.
Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
For Kings XI Punjab to do well, they will need the Australian duo of Shaun Marsh and David Hussey to score the bulk of the runs. Hussey is the leading run-getter in Twenty20 cricket, while Marsh has been a consistent run-getter for KXIP this season. In a format where one player can change the course of the match, KXIP will be well served if these two players can do the bulk of the scoring.
All eyes will be on Sachin Tendulkar who turned 39 on the eve of the match. The Mumbai Indians have struggled with their batting despite the presence of experienced players like Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik and Kieron Pollard, and they need the most experienced of them all – Tendulkar – to anchor the innings just like he did last season.
The Mumbai Indians have also struggled with runs at the top of the order, and the move of promoting James Franklin to the top of the order came good last time around. Whether Harbhajan Singh and co. stick to the same order remains to be seen.
Historically, Kings XI Punjab have done very well against the Mumbai Indians. The team from Punjab has clashed with MI on nine occasions and have emerged victors in six of those contests.
In the most recent meeting between the two teams at Mumbai on April 22, 2012, Kings XI Punjab chased down 164 to win by 6 wickets thanks to Shaun Marsh’s unbeaten 68.
KXIP’s stand-in skipper David Hussey has appeared in four Twenty20 matches that ended in a tie – three of those were when he was captain of one of the teams in the contest.
Mumbai Indians’ Herschelle Gibbs holds the record for the most ducks in Twenty20 cricket; he’s been dismissed without opening his account on 19 occasions.
On April 28, Kings XI Punjab will take the field at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai when they square off against the defending champions Chennai Super Kings. The Mumbai Indians in the meantime will fly across to Delhi to take on the Delhi Daredevils on April 27.
The Deccan Chargers and the Kolkata Knight Riders locked horns at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on April 22. Two days later, these teams will go head to head yet again, but at the magnificent Eden Gardens – home to the Knight Riders.
With four wins from seven matches, KKR are locked in a tight race in the middle of the IPL 2012 table. Gautam Gambhir’s team consumed 19 overs to chase down 127 in the previous match. In a tournament where several teams are closely packed and only four can progress to the play-offs, it is important that teams also maintain a very good net run-rate. And KKR will rue the fact that they did not get past the finish line earlier than they did in that game.
The Deccan Chargers are yet to taste success in the tournament. The team from Hyderabad has played five matches, but has ended second best on every occasion. Given that in the IPL the turnaround time between matches is very little, it will be a test of character for Kumar Sangakkara’s team to lift themselves from the bottom of the table.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 08:00 p.m.
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Despite the fantastic names in their batting line-up, a lot rides on the shoulders of the KKR skipper and opening batsman Gautam Gambhir. Since the southpaw has moved up to open the innings – and moved Jacques Kallis to bat in the middle order ¬– KKR have looked a very dangerous side.
Brendon McCullum and Yusuf Pathan – two of the most explosive players in this format – haven’t done too much in the tournament. But the day either of them gets going, you can be sure there will be only one winner – KKR.
The Deccan Chargers aren’t too dissimilar from the Rajasthan Royals. Both teams aren’t blessed when it comes to the stars. However, while the Rajasthan Royals are performing well as a unit, and punching beyond their weight and winning the crucial moments, DC cannot seem to get their act together.
The team needs some inspiration, and the three players in the DC line-up who are capable of producing those special moments are skipper Kumar Sangakkara, JP Duminy and Dale Steyn. They have an able support cast in Shikhar Dhawan, Parthiv Patel and Amit Mishra. But DC will need the three overseas players to come up with match-winning performances.
The Kolkata Knight Riders have won each of their last five matches against the Deccan Chargers, including their away meeting earlier this season. They boast a 7-2 win-loss record against DC.
The two occasions the Deccan Chargers got the better of KKR was during their title run in IPL 2009.
The Deccan Chargers’ next stop would be the education capital of India – Pune. Kumar Sangakkara’s team is scheduled to take on the Pune Warriors India on April 26. Gautam Gambhir’s KKR will in the meantime enjoy a three-day break before hosting the Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 28.