IPL roadshow arrives in KZN

2009-04-20 00:00

AFTER an opening weekend of upsets, dodgy weather and even the appearance of Messrs Duckworth and Lewis, the IPL roadshow has arrived in Durban.

In a double-header that will whet local appetites, the Kings XI Punjab meet the Kolkata Knight Riders this morning, before the stars from the Mumbai Indians lock horns with Shane Warne’s defending champions, the Rajasthan Royals after lunch.

The Kings XI Punjab and the Kolkata Knight Riders will be in search of confidence-boosting wins when they tackle each other in the first match.

Both teams suffered heavy defeats in their opening matches at Newlands, though in the case of Kings XI Punjab, at least they could use the weather as an excuse for the ten-wicket loss to the Delhi Daredevils.

Kings XI Punjab’s coach Tom Moody was not reading too much into the outcome of their first match and was keen to reflect on the positives, particularly the opening stand between England international Ravi Bopara and youngster Karan Goel that realised 67 runs in six overs.

“Ravi’s a terrific addition for us. We were very keen to pick him up in the auction — we think he adds a real dynamic aspect to our game,” Moody said of Bopara, who made 22 off 16 balls.

“Those types of players are very rare and having him in the squad is obviously a real bonus to us.”

The Kolkata Knight Riders’ eight wicket loss to the Deccan Chargers highlighted a number of problems in the balance of the side.

They erred in not picking Sri Lankan mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis, especially when considering the success the likes of Warne, Anil Kumble and Daniel Vettori had in the earlier matches.

Their failure with the bat was also a worry, with only Brad Hodge contributing.

“We didn’t play to our strengths and the Chargers utilised the conditions very well … However, it’s a long tournament and we’ve got opportunities to lift ourselves,” captain Brendan McCullum said.

The Punjab outfit will hope to draw on the inside knowledge of Yusuf Abdullah. The Dolphins slinger had a baptism of fire against Virender Sehwag in Cape Town, but will be eager to thrive in front of his own fans.

In the afternoon clash, Indian genius Sachin Tendulkar will pit his wits against Warne. Tendulkar’s cultured half-century was key in their opening win on Saturday, and he will again be central to the Mumbai side’s plans.

Warne’s side, after a lot of attention, bumped back to earth heavily as they were bundled out for 58 on Saturday.

“We are going to have to have a serious look at the top three or four positions with the bat going forward. We weren’t smart enough with our shot selection,” Warne said. “We weren’t up to scratch and we expect better of ourselves.”

“It’s very similar to last year when we got embarrassed in the first game, but we managed to come back and win it.

“Hopefully the same thing happens this time, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Either way, there is sure to be explosive action as the first of 16 games to be hosted at Kingsmead unravels today.

ORDER OF PLAY:

10.30am: Kings XI Punjab vs Kolkata Knight Riders

2.30pm: Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals

TV: SuperSport 2

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