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Kings hold the aces

cricket Updated: Mar 24, 2010 01:34 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta
Hindustan Times
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Two of the prettiest faces in the IPL, Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty, are smiling again. Disappointment had begun to cloud their contagious enthusiasm as their teams hurtled to three consecutive defeats.

But notching up victories in the last game has apparently set things in order for the two ladies.

Unfortunately, the optimism of working their way up the points’ table is going to be short-lived for at least for one of them, as the Kings XI Punjab square up against the Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday.

There are three reasons why Kings XI hold the edge. First, they are coming after a thrilling win over the Chennai Super Kings, who they had never beaten in their previous five encounters. Crossing the obstacle is a huge boost and they’d be raring to go against the bottom scrapers Royals.

Reinforcements in the form of Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh and the superb performance of their latest recruit, Juan Theron, in Chennai gives them a well-rounded look.

In fact, Kings XI will struggle to find a place for their other foreign imports.

With skipper Kumar Sangakkara and Ravi Bopara, their most consistent batsman, and Theron certain to play, it will leave Lee, Marsh and Mahela Jayawardene fighting the fourth spot.

Finally, Yuvraj Singh is showing signs of returning to form and if he hits the right notes, there’s very little the opposition can do.

The Royals may have snapped their losing streak, but the win came against the Kolkata Knight Riders, who appear to have gone into their customary freefall mode after a fine start.

Then, the Royals have no reinforcements to look forward to for the players lost to injuries. Besides, their lethal weapon, Yusuf Pathan, can be blunted, as the Royal Challengers Bangalore showed, with some accurate and quick short-pitched stuff.

All in all, Shane Warne has a tough task on hand.