Royals, Punjab look to kick on

The Rajasthan Royals and the Kings XI Punjab are both hoping to build on their recent wins with another victory at Newlands.

The sides finished first and second respectively in the league phase of last year’s event, with Shane Warne leading the Rajasthan Royals to the title. The Kings XI Punjab side were knocked out in the semi-finals by the Chennai Super Kings.

On Thursday at Newlands Warne’s side got their quest for success in Season 2009 going when they beat the Kolkata Knight Riders in a Super Over bowl-off, although he said afterwards he was still a bit worried about the performance of the top-order in the early overs.

And Warne would have given his bowlers a bit of a talking-to in the days since Thursday, about not losing focus at any point in the action. The reason was the 16th over of the Kolkata Knight Riders, in which Munaf Patel conceded 22 runs to bring a dawdling opposition batting line-up firmly back into the game.

“That over gave them a chance to win,” Warne said after the game.

Kings XI Punjab lost in their first two IPL outings in South Africa in rain-affected matches, but on Friday they consigned the Royal Challengers Bangalore to their third successive defeat, winning by seven wickets in
Durban.

One of the Kings XI Punjab players to finally come to the party was Yusuf Abdulla , who plays his provincial cricket for the Durban-based Dolphins franchise.

Abdulla claimed 4-31 to restrict Bangalore to 168-9, and then England batsman Ravi Bopara led the Kings XI Punjab to victory with a 59-ball innings of 84.

Left-arm swing bowler Abdulla’s victims were all pretty decent batsmen -Jesse Ryder, Kevin Pietersen, Rahul Dravid and Jacques Kallis.

After the victory Kings XI Punjab coach Tom Moody had praise for Abdulla, saying his record in the domestic Pro20 competition in the past season had been impressive. Abdulla took 10 wickets at 17.10 in an eight-match Dolphins