Durban's double-header delight

2009-04-28 00:00

THERE are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about today’s IPL double-header at Kingsmead. For one, the little master, Sachin Tendulkar is in town.

The maestro, 36 years young last week, is in fine form after he and Sanath Jayasuriya blitzed 127 runs in 12 overs in their last match in Port Elizabeth.

Tendulkar, captain of the Mumbai Indians, will lead his side against Yuvraj Singh’s Kings XI Punjab outfit.

The Kings XI have plenty to beam about themselves, not least the form of their $25 000 bargain, Yusuf Abdulla.

The Dolphins seamer has bounced back after a testing start to the tournament, bagging seven wickets in his last two games.

“I feel settled in the squad now and the rest of the guys have been great. There is a good buzz around the team, and we are backing ourselves to do well in the competition,” he said last night.

Abdulla, who will more than likely take the new ball against the dangerous duo of Tendulkar and Jayasuriya, was not fazed by their recent exploits.

“Of course, they are great players and they are in form, but we don’t really worry about what they have done before the game.

“What matters is that we play to our strengths, and I will be looking to hit my areas regardless of who I am bowling to.”

The tasty clash between Teldulkar’s side and the Kings XI will be preceded by another vital match, as two struggling teams look for some confidence.

The Bangalore Royal Challengers and the Kolkata Knight Riders have struggled thus far, and a win today is key to moving up the table.

The Challengers, brimming with talent and led by the expensive Kevin Pietersen, have plenty to ponder ahead of today’s clash.

An injury to speedster Dale Steyn has hardly helped, and with Pietersen playing his final game before jetting home for the Test series against the Windies, a morale-boosting win is much needed.

Dropped catches and loose shots have characterised much of their early play, and Pietersen will be out to put some gloss on what has been described as an expensive mistake.

Their opponents, the Knight Riders, have issues of their own.

The axing of Sauruv Ganguly as skipper in favour of Kiwi Brendon McCullum has been slammed back in India, with effigies of coach John Buchanan set alight.

On the field, the Kolkata side have yet to fire, so there will be much on the cards from 12.30 pm today.

By and large, attendances at Kingsmead have been reasonable — even for the day clashes — and the Durban patrons will surely be entertained by the four IPL sides on display today.

Times: Bangalore Royal Challengers vs Kolkata Knight Riders (12:30 pm)

Kings XI Punjab vs Mumbai Indians (4.30 pm)

TV Times: SuperSport 2 from midday.

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