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Rampaging Mumbai in no mood to relent

From losing to the Pune Warriors, a team languishing at the bottom, a day ago, to meeting the league leaders, the Kings XI Punjab have their task cut out against the Mumbai Indians on Tuesday. Ashutosh Sharma reports. Match Box

cricket Updated: May 10, 2011 01:39 IST
Ashutosh Sharma

From losing to the Pune Warriors, a team languishing at the bottom, a day ago, to meeting the league leaders, the Kings XI Punjab have their task cut out against the Mumbai Indians on Tuesday.

Mumbai have been the team to beat in this fickle format. Their only blips this season have been against the Rajasthan Royals and Kochi Tuskers. Other than that, they have dismantled every team either with the bat or ball. Led by Sachin Tendulkar and the likes of Ambati Rayudu, Rohit Sharma, Andrew Symonds, Kieron Pollard and Rohit Sharma, Mumbai can give the Kings XI bowlers a run for their money.

"They are a tough team, who have a line-up full of big hitters. The only way we can think of creating pressure is by fielding well. Otherwise, it will be tough to stop them," said David Hussey.

Skipper Adam Gilchrist will be hoping for a better performance from his team after the spineless display on Sunday.

The threat posed by Mumbai is not limited to batting alone. A bowler like Lasith Malinga can run through a side in a matter of minutes. "Malinga is another factor that is a concern for us. He has a unique action and his yorkers find the target. It will be tough to get him away," said Hussey.

Kings XI have been plagued by shortcomings. Only three batsmen — Gilchrist, Paul Valthaty and Shaun Marsh have been among runs and secondly, the bowling combinations have been ineffective. On Sunday, they made as many as five changes but still ended up losing.

Ryan Harris and Praveen Kumar have erred in maintaining line and length. "It was disappointing. The boys are now fired up to put up a better show in the next match," said Hussey.

If the Kings were looking for some leeway against Mumbai, who have assured themselves of a berth in the next round, bowling coach, Shaun Pollock, issued a warning.

"Yes, it is good to be at the top of the table but we also have to see that the team does not lose confidence and momentum after we make changes. Every game is important and you don't want to mess around with the combination," he said.

Match box