Kings XI Punjab keen to record first win

After back-to-back defeats, Kings XI Punjab will be eyeing a redemption while defending champions Deccan Chargers hope to continue with the winning momentum when they take on each other in an Indian Premier League match here on Friday.

The Punjab side have opened their IPL campaign on a disappointing note, losing to Delhi Daredevils and then Royal Challengers Bangalore, mainly due to their depleted bowling attack which is certainly giving skipper Kumar Sangakkara sleepless nights.

On the other hand, despite a shocking 11-run defeat to last year’s laggards Kolkata Knight Riders in their opening tie, the Adam Gilchrist-led side has managed to put things together to beat Chennai Super Kings by 31 runs in the next encounter.

Bowling is the worrying factor for the Punjab team, who lost both the matches despite putting good totals on the board as the opponent batsmen managed to overhaul the targets.

They are clearly missing the service of Australian pace spearhead Brett Lee as Punjab’s new-ball pair of S Sreesanth and left-arm Irfan Pathan have so far failed to make much impact on the batsmen.

Punjab’s batting department, however, has impressed in previous matches with England’s Ravi Bopara leading the charge on both the occasions.

Haryana boy Manvinder Bisla cracked a 51-ball 75 against Royal Challengers to give Punjab a 129-run opening partnership with Bopara and the team will expect him to again lay the foundation for a good total at the Barabati Stadium on Friday.

However, supports from stylish left-hander Yuvraj Singh and their Sri Lankan import Mahela Jayawardene down the order are also going to be crucial.

Meanwhile, things have started falling in place for the Hyderabad-based side with all the three backbones of their batting order — Gilchrist, South African Herchelle Gibbs and Andrew Symonds of Australia — in good touch.

Deccan failed to chase down a 162-run target against Knight Riders in the tournament-opener, but then shrugged off the hangover to gather a competitive 190 to get the better of Chennai team in their next match.

Experienced Sri Lankan Chaminda Vaas has been impressive with his opening spells while R P Singh can also be effective with his swing bowling.

The duo can forge a lethal pair in the opening overs, but the determined Punjab will be a hard nut to crack and so contributions from all-rounder Symonds and in the middle overs are also going to play an important role.

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