Kings XI hoping for better luck

TIME TO FIRE: Yuvraj Singh will be keen to lead from the front when Kings XI clashes with Royal Challengers.

TIME TO FIRE: Yuvraj Singh will be keen to lead from the front when Kings XI clashes with Royal Challengers.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: AFP

It will clash with the inconsistent Royal Challengers

DURBAN: After falling prey to rain-god’s ire twice, a struggling Kings XI Punjab will hope for better luck this time while Royal Challengers Bangalore will strive to get into the groove when the two teams cross swords in an Indian Premier League match here on Friday.

Things have not fallen in place for the Punjab team which is languishing at the bottom of the table after losing its first two encounters, with the heavens opening up at crucial junctures on both occasions to force the umpires to apply the Duckworth-Lewis method.

The Yuvraj Singh-led side lost its campaign-opener against Delhi Daredevils by 10 wickets before going down to the Shah Rukh Khan-owned Kolkata Knight Riders in another rain-truncated encounter.

Strong batting

Although the Punjab side is yet to open its account in the second edition of the IPL, it possesses a mighty batting order, led by the stylish left-hander Yuvraj.

Yuvraj, who scored a brisk 28-ball 38 in the match against Kolkata Knight Riders, will also count upon Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara and his counterpart Mahela Jayawardene for some timely contributions. The trio will be up against Royal Challengers’ bowling attack consisting of South African paceman Dale Steyn and Kiwi all-rounder Jesse Ryder.

Irfan Pathan who has chipped in with the bat for Kings XI, will also have to join hands with South African speedster Yusuf Abdulla to form the new ball pair and scalp a couple of early wickets to stifle the opponent batting order.

On the other hand, Royal Challengers began its journey in style by comprehensively beating defending champion Rajasthan Royals by 75 runs, but has been inconsistent since then.

Skipper Kevin Pietersen will want to draw from his experience and recapture the form the team showed in the first match.

Besides Pietersen, the onus of building the innings will also be on South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid, whose 48-ball 66 was the cornerstone of Bangalore’s win against the Royals.

With the team management adamant on continuing with Robin Uthappa behind the stumps, instead of South African Mark Boucher, the Karnataka cricketer also has to play his part as an opening batsman.

The bowling department did well in the first match by skittling out Royals for 58, thanks to Anil Kumble’s five for five.

However, it appeared a bit sluggish against Chennai Super Kings and Deccan Chargers in the subsequent encounters. — PTI

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