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North & South Kings in battle

Kings XI have never beaten the Super Kings, losing four times in the past two years. Their recent form has been poor, while the Super Kings have bounced back after the opening loss to the Chargers to record two straight wins.

cricket Updated: Mar 20, 2010 23:07 IST
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya

Preity Zinta should perhaps think of moving out of the Kings XI dugout just to change their luck. Three matches, three losses and now they are up against the Super Kings.

A look at the odds stacked against Kumar Sangakkara’s boys tells the tale. They have never beaten the Super Kings, losing four times in the past two years. Their recent form has been poor, while the Super Kings have bounced back after the opening loss to the Chargers to record two straight wins.

Most importantly, the Kings’ lynchpin, Yuvraj Singh, is not 100 per cent fit and is yet to fire. The Super Kings, on the other hand, must have breathed a sigh of relief at Matthew Hayden’s surge back to form in the last game. With captain M.S. Dhoni out injured, they depend heavily on Haydos for firepower.

Dhoni will also be out of the next match against the Royal Challengers. “He is recovering. The physio has suggested we bring him into the squad for the match against the Mumbai Indians,” Super Kings’ coach, Stephen Fleming, said. The Super Kings take on Mumbai Indians away on Thursday.

However, the League needs the Kings XI, as well as Shane Warne’s Rajasthan Royals, to win a few matches to make things a bit more competitive.

To win, the Kings XI need to get a few things right. While bowling, they must get Hayden quickly, preferably before he calls for the mongoose bat. Some swing from Sreesanth or Irfan Pathan could do the trick.

Getting Hayden early will give the visitors an opportunity to attack the Super Kings’ middle-order, where stand-in captain Suresh Raina is the only batsman who combines experience with explosiveness. Justin Kemp is still feeling his way around and S. Badrinath and Murali Vijay are yet to prove that they can be heroes.

While batting, the Kings XI need Yuvraj to fire. They have crossed 200 once without any help from the left-hander and opener Ravi Bopara has done well, but Yuvraj’s power-hitting can lift the team.

The Sunday crowd at Chepauk will of course not want any of this to happen.