PREVIEW: Kings XI Punjab
Comparing the glamour factor, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) is one of the best teams in the IPL with the bubbly Preity Zinta as its co-owner along with Ness Wadia. With Yuvraj, Sangakara and Jayawardene in the batting line up and bowlers like Brett Lee, Irfan Pathan and Sreesanth, aggression is the other name of the team. Team had to be disappointed in the 1st season as it failed to move beyond the semifinal level.
In 2009, when the IPL moved to South Africa, the power packed side faltered before the semifinal stage. The failure can be attributed to the absence of the pace spearhead Brett Lee. Yuvraj Singh was also not consistent though he got 2 hat-tricks in the IPL 2. The only find for the team was Yusuf Abdullah, whom the team bought again this year.
Luke Pomersbach and Nuwan Kulasekara were bought ahead of the 2010 auction while they picked former India batsman Mohammed Kaif who is expected to recreate the magic with Yuvraj Singh in the Punjab side under new captain Kumar Sangakkara.
Yuvraj Singh: When he is on song, there is no sight as majestic in the cricketing world. He will be keen to perform and score good amount of runs as it will be the 1st tournament after his recovery from injury. The man with records like fastest 50 in T20 interntionals, 6 sixes in an over in ODIs, will be the most dangerous man for the opponents.
Kumara Sangakara: Probably, he is one of the best in his field when it comes to technique. He will try to prove his mettle after being appointed as the captain of the side. Adding to his unparallel batting techniques, he is a great player to have in the side for his work behind the stumps.
Mahela Jayawardene: The middle order batsman of the Sri Lankan side will be the anchor of the KXIP middle order. His skills to play elegant shots make it tough for the opponent bowlers to get him out. His precision in shot selection and placement is beyond comparison.
Irfan Pathan: As IPL returns to India, Irfan will be more lethal than the last edition. Irfan has got impressive records in the Indian conditions. His swing can put even the best batsmen in trouble. His pinch hitting abilities makes him the perfect bowling allrounder for the team.
Yusuf Abdulla: 27 year old medium pacer from South Africa impressed all with his bowling in the IPL 2. The team bought him back this year when his 1 year contract ended. His strength is to vary the pace and the angle of deliveries. Opponent batsmen must be aware!
SQUAD: AB Barath, K Goel, DPMD Jayawardene, M Kaif, RS Bopara, S Marsh, Y Singh, TM Srivastava, K Sangakara, MS Bisla, I Pathan, J Hopes, RS Sodhi, Bipul Sharma, B Lee, PP Chawla, RR Powar, L Ablish, SJ Srivastava, S Sreesanth, VS Malik, Y Abdulla, Amanpreet Singh
As it was predicted and expected, both Indians and Lankans thrashed The hosts Bangladeshis beating them 4 nil. Now to eye balls are turned towards the Final of the Triangular series to be held tomorrow in Mirpur.
This finale will mark the 121st match between India and Sri Lanka which will be the highest between two teams. The previous best was between Australia and West Indies playing 121 matches.
The Lankans surely will be aiming to defeat India as a revenge for their loss in the ODI series in December.So the final tomorrow will be a thriller with both team on heavy competition to pose the cameras with the cup.
With starting the year in a losing note, Dhoni and co got back to winning ways with the rest of the league matches. They will surely look to win the math to win the series and close in to the ranking of the No.1 ODI team Australia.
With Virender Sehwag back in the team, it would add a huge boast to the opening. And with Gambhir back in splendid form it adds to the strength of the batting.
With Virat Kohli scoring 273 runs in four matches, is in great form batting at No.3. While the rest Dhoni, Yuvraj, Jadeja and Raina are too in good touch, it would be with the opening partnership of Sehwag and Gambhir.
Fielding and Bowling surely has improved since the teams last met in India. Bowling in last 2 matches was superb. But the worry for Dhoni is depth bowling.
India conceded over 90 runs in last 10 overs in the last matches. But with the return of Bhajji and Zak it surely will be controlled.
India surely are the favorites for this match.
The Lankans were let down with the loss to India in the last match. But surely now, they might be aiming to win the cup.
With Dilshan and Tharanga in sublime form it looks that they will provide a good start. The middle order with Mahela’s inclusion means power. They have the capability to do anything.
Sangakkara, Mahela, Samaraweera Kandamby, Perera and in superb form hitting cameos in all the matches they have played.
Bowling in the start and in the death overs had been a concern for both teams when they met each other in Indian pitch. The Indian bowlers had been inconsistent in first 2 games as they were unable to restrict The Islanders and the Hosts.
Newbie Sudeep Tyagi has performed excellently in both games he has played. With Zaheer’s return to the team, it looks like Tyagi will be out. But they may put out Sreesanth as he has been too expensive.
On the Lankan side it is even more worse, apart from Welegedara’s 5 Wicket haul in the 1st match no bowler has been consistent. Even with the likes of experienced bowlers Nuwan Kulasekara and Thilan Thushara in the team, they have been too expensive and not picked up many wickets.
So the pressure is on Thisara Perera and Suraj Randiv who were the pick of the bowlers to perform well.
TOSS IS THE BOSS
Toss obviously in this series has been one go, Whoever it is win the toss and choose to field first.
India: Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (capt/wk), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Sreesanth/Sudeep Tyagi.
Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara (capt./wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Thilina Kandamby, Thissara Perera, Suraj Randiv, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thilan Thushara/ Suranga Lakmal , Chanaka Welegedara.