|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
It's Kings vs Kings at Mohali
April 18, 2008 19:51 IST
Bitter rivals will join hands and compatriots will take on each other in what promises to be a thrilling encounter in the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Twenty20 match between local favourites Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings at Mohali on Saturday.
Super King's skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images] will join his team on Saturday.
Swashbuckling left-hander and Mohali team captain Yuvraj Singh [Images], who is also India's ODI vice captain, has already fired the first salvo, saying he and Dhoni may be great pals off the field "but there is no friendship on the field."
Yuvraj, who will try to cash-in on the home support to put pressure on the Dhoni-led team, said "we want to win the game and have an upper hand in the competition."
Besides Yuvraj, who is the 'icon player' of his team, the Punjab team -- coached by Tom Moody -- also includes top batsmen like Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene [Images], Ramnaresh Sarwan [Images].
The Chennai team, coached by Kepler Wessels, has some experienced campaigners like Mathew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Stephen Fleming [Images], Jacob Oram [Images], Muttiah Muralitharan, Makhaya Ntini [Images] besides good talent back home.
When asked how would it be bowling to teammates Sangakkara and Jayawardene, spinning legend Muralitharan says, "I will like to bowl them out for a duck and that too on the very first ball they face."
Muralitharan says the spinners have always done well in India and says they have a good chance in the tournament, that will be played over next month-and-a-half in different Indian cities.
On the other hand, Kings XI's Brett Lee said the players are quite excited about playing in the opening match.
"I am also eagerly looking forward to bowl against my mates, Hayden and Hussey," said Lee. Mathew Hayden, meanwhile, predicted that Saturday's match will be a keenly-fought contest.
"It will be a close contest as we are up against a strong team which has some quality players," he said.
Both Lee and Hayden are expected to play for their teams in the first two weeks of the IPL before joining their national team to play in the series against West Indies [Images].
Irfan Pathan was also charged up for the big event and was hoping to extract "extra pace" from the Mohali track, considered to be seamer-friendly.
Meanwhile, Chennai team coach Kepler Wessels has predicted that Saturday's encounter will be a tough one.
"It will be a tough match and the players have to play to their potential to emerge victorious. However, I don't think we will have any easy match in this tournament with all teams looking balanced, the competition will be intense," he said.
Team Chennai will miss the services of South African duo Makhaya Ntini and Albie Morkel, who will join the squad later.
However, Wessels didn't seem to be much worried. "Yes, the track looks seamer friendly and Ntini will be missed. But we have players to fill the void."