Two buoyant sides, boasting some of the best strokeplayers in contemporary cricket, will collide head on when Kings XI Punjab take on Mumbai Indians in a potential humdinger in the Indian Premier League here on Wednesday.
After the rain god stopped stalking them, Kings XI under Yuvraj Singh have managed to put their campaign back on track with back-to-back victories over Bangalore Royal Challengers and defending champions Rajasthan Royals.
The wins lifted the pall of gloom that had descended on the Kings XI camp following their defeats against Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders in two rain-marred ties.
In contrast, the Sachin Tendulkar-led Mumbai Indians got off to a perfect start with a victory over last year’s finalist Chennai Super Kings before sharing points with Rajasthan Royals from their washed out outing.
Tendulkar and his men tasted their first defeat against the all-conquering Deccan Chargers in their third tie but shrugged off the setback with a thumping 92-run win against the Knight Riders on Monday night.
Tendulkar himself has led from the front with his consistent display at the top, in company of the ageless Sanath Jayasuriya.
The senior batsmen have forged a lethal pair at the top and while the Knight Riders were at the receiving end of their onslaught yesterday, it could be any other side on Wednesday.
JP Duminy didn’t convert the start yesterday but the exciting Protea youngster is unlikely to squander another chance to impress the home crowd.
Abhishek Nayar and even Harbhajan Singh have the ability to land a few lusty blows, which means Tendulkar is not short on gunpowder.
Their bowling looks equally formidable with Lasith Malinga and Zaheer Khan forging a fearsome pair.
Dwayne Bravo has also chipped in while Abhishek Nayar, Jayasuriya and Tendulkar himself can prove quite a handful with their part-time bowling.
In contrast, Kings XI batting line-up has been inconsistent with Yuvraj’s own reputation as one of the deadliest batsmen in this format in tatters.
Rather, Kumar Sangakkara’s has been a reassuring presence in the middle and it was the Lankan’s unbeaten half-century that paved way to the side’s victory against Rajasthan Royals.
Irfan Pathan has also done justice to his all-rounder’s reputation, shining both with the bat and ball.
Even though the absence of Brett Lee and S Sreesanth depleted the Mohali-based outfit’s bowling resources, their late recruit Yousuf Abdulla has been among the wickets while Pathan’s impressive form also helped their cause.