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Yuvi, Bhajji yet to open account

cricket Updated: Apr 24, 2008 17:48 IST
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With no certain word still on Sachin Tendulkar's Indian Premier League debut on Friday, Punjab will be eager to take the opportunity to clinch an elusive win at home turf against Mumbai in Mohali.

The Yuvraj Singh-led Punjab team, having lost both its matches -- against Chennai here and Rajasthan at Jaipur, is bound to be under pressure to record a victory as it will be again playing before their home crowd.

Though Yuvraj is one of the dangerous batsman in this format of the game, he is yet to unleash his real firepower for which he is known. He scored 23 and 57 in his previous two matches.

Other top batsman Mahela Jayawardene is also yet to prove himself while his compatriot Kumar Sangakkara would wish to play a big knock tomorrow.

Punjab's other problem are its strike bowlers, who are yet to live up to their reputation. Right-arm fast bowler Brett Lee finished with similar figures of 4-0-35-1 in his two matches while left-arm pacer Irfan Pathan had figures of 4-0-47-2 in his first match.

S Sreesanth is yet to come good for the Punjab team as he has proved expensive in the six overs he has bowled in two matches without much success.

The spin department, with Piyush Chawla in the forefront, has also failed to click so far. Another keen thing to watch out will be how Yuvraj tackles his state-mate Harbhajan Singh.

Mumbai, who are also yet to score a win, will be hoping that Sri Lankan veteran Sanath Jayasuriya plays a big knock as he has so far scored just 49 runs in his two outings.

Besides, if Tendulkar, Mumbai regular captain currently recuperating from his groin injury, is fit to play tomorrow, it will definitely add to the firepower of the team, also including Robin Uthappa and West Indian Dwayne Bravo.

"I hope Sachin plays in Chandigarh (Mohali)... I can also concentrate on my bowling," said Mumbai stand-in captain Harbhajan Singh after his team lost by narrow six-run margin against Chennai in Chennai on Wednesday night.

Harbhajan along with talented youngster Abhishek Nayar showed grit at the Chepauk. Harbhajan was quite economical but he under-bowled himself with just two overs.

Uthappa has shown that he can be dangerous in this format, but he will need to ensure that he stays at the crease for longer duration to play big innings.

South African Shaun Pollock is another big asset to the team with his wicket taking ability and also chipping in with useful knocks.

As the match will be played under floodlights, Mohali track should suit Pollock and left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra and even right-arm medium pacer Dhaval Kulkarni should be able to move the ball here.

Unlike Chennai, where there was heavy dew on the field on Wednesday night, Mohali ground should be okay. "We don't foresee this problem here. However, still we are prepared to tackle dew in case there is any," PCA curator Daljit Singh said.

Teams:

Mumbai: Sachin Tendulkar (Capt), Aniket Chavan, Siddharth Chitnis, Gaurav Dhiman, Dilhara Fernando, Harbhajan Singh, Sanath Jayasuriya, Dominic Thornely, Musavir Khote, Dhawal Kulkarni, Abhishek Nayar, Ashish Nehra, Manish Pandey, Rajesh Pawar, Shaun Pollock, Saurabh Tiwary, Ashwell Prince, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohan Raje, Luke Ronchi (wk), Pinal Shah (wk), Swapnil Singh, Yogesh Takawale (wk), Robin Uthappa and Vikrant Yeligati.
Coach: Lalchand Rajput.

Punjab: Yuvraj Singh (Capt), Karan Goel, James Hopes, Kumar Sangakkara, Simon Katich, Pankaj Dharmani, Irfan Pathan, Brett Lee, Piyush Chawla, Wilkin Mota, S Sreesanth, Ajitesh Argal, Rishi Dhawan, Mahela Jayawardene, Simon Katich, Uday Kaul, Sahil Kukreja, Shaun Marsh, Kyle Mills, Luke Pomersbach, Ramesh Powar, Nitin Saini, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Vikram Singh, Tanmaya Srivastava, Sunny Sohal.