Durban doozie

Kingsmead is set for some big hitting with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai) and Yuvraj Singh (Kings XI Punjab) in dominant form.

The Yuvraj Singh-led Kings XI Punjab have bounced back well after starting the tournament with two defeats, admittedly both rain-affected.

Since then they have beaten the Royal Challengers Bangalore (by seven wickets) and the defending champions the Rajasthan Royals (by 27 runs).

In the first of the two victories Kings XI Punjab opener Ravi Bopara’s 84 set up the successful chase of the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s 168-9, while against the Rajasthan Royals it was Kumar Sangakkara’s 60 which kept things together to allow his side to reach 139-6.

The bowling for the Kings XI Punjab also looks settled with two good seamers like Yusuf Abdulla (3-21) and Irfan Pathan (2-26).

In their top six batsmen Kings XI Punjab also have Yuvraj Singh, Mahela Jayawardene and Irfan Pathan, the latter also a member of an attack which, although they were too good for the Rajasthan Royals, could be put under pressure in future contests.

Sangakkara, for one, will be looking to avoid run-outs tomorrow.
He was one of two batsmen to be run out against the Rajasthan Royals, the first, Karan Goel, losing his wicket off the first ball of the innings.

‘Irfan made a huge difference after we lost four early wickets, in getting the momentum going. We’ve got to continue. The energy was great, but we must execute our game plans better,’ Sangakkara said. ‘And run-outs are to be avoided in any form of cricket.’

On the other side the Mumbai Indians have plenty to offer in both the batting and bowling departments.

The duo of Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya set a record opening partnership of 127 in a 92-run thrashing of the Kolkata Knight Riders in Port Elizabeth on Monday. That was obviously just a taste of what the Mumbai Indians can offer with the bat, with names like JP Duminy and Dwayne Bravo in the top six.

Bravo, combined with joint Purple Cap holder and leading wicket-taker Lasith Malinga (nine victims) and Zaheer Khan in a potent seam division while Harbhajan Singh is a match-winning spin option, will certainly provide the Mumbai Indians with an attack which marks them as an early favourite to clinch a semi-final spot.

The Mumbai Indians start Wednesday’s match with five points from four matches, while Punjab have four points from four.