After spending a season playing at their surrogate home ground in Navi Mumbai, Pune Warriors are back where they ought to be – in Pune. Here, they will take on Kings XI Punjab at the new Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium. The ground is 28 kms away from the city centre, but optimists among the fans would say that’s 100 kms closer than the DY Patil Stadium. Fresh from their 28-run heist against their more fancied neighbours, Mumbai Indians, Warriors will look to build some momentum against a Kings XI side that was razed by Ajinkya Rahane and Kevin Cooper in Jaipur on Friday.Ganguly will be happy with the way his team played in its first match .Uthappa and Smith did all the scoring though they were innings which were slow as compared to the typical T-20 style of batting we are used to see.Tamim Iqbal might be given his first game for the IPL as an opener with Ganguly,the batting still looks weak as they have no one at number 6 or 7 who can finish the innings.Bowling had three spinners last time and all of them did really well to restrict the Mumbai team to 100, Fast bowling will be headed by Parnell and Ashok dinda.They should really make use of the bowling which Kings Xl have but they should know the fact that they too have a Gilchrist who can really make life miserable on the field for the bowlers.
Kings XI Punjab have never believed in big names. In fact, they have just one millionaire on their roaster in Australian David Hussey ($1.4m). Their most expensive buy at this yearâ€™s player auction was former Pakistan allrounder Azhar Mahmood for $200,000. Their most popular face is the 40-year old Adam Gilchrist.Punjabâ€™s maxim has been: we do not need the names, but we can still win. Last year they proved that theory correct when an unknown Paul Valthaty, who was clinging to the edges of domestic cricket before the tournament, catapulted himself into the front pages of newspapers and television screens with his batting exploits.They have begun their season with a defeat against the royal. Their batting looks fine with Gilchrist, Valthaty and Hussey any batting line up will look alright.With his reduced pace, Praveen Kumar has been easier to score off all season, and on the flatter pitches of the IPL his form is particularly worrisome. Kings XI’s follow-up bowlers lacked control and variety, and that makes a case for the inclusion of an experienced Twenty20 player like Azhar Mahmood.kings will really have to pull their socks up to win and find some momentum in this tournament.
Pune (55:45) Kings Xl
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