Reinforced Super Kings seek first win
Match factsWednesday, April 10, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings had contrasting starts to IPL 2013. While Kings XI thrashed Pune Warriors in an away game, Super Kings slipped up after a dominant beginning in Chennai, handing Mumbai Indians a victory. Going into their second matches, both teams are at opposite ends of the points table, ends neither is too familiar with.
For Kings XI, it was a near-perfect display. They were disciplined with the ball, energetic with the bat and electric in the field. Parvinder Awana bowled possibly the delivery of the IPL so far, angling in and moving across Angelo Mathews to have him caught behind. Mandeep Singh, with a little help from Adam Gilchrist, accounted for Marlon Samuels with an inch-perfect throw from deep midwicket. Then there was Gurkeerat Singh's spectacular, flying take in the long leg region, to get rid of Ross Taylor. Three special moments, which ripped the heart out of Warriors' batting. Gilchrist and Manan Vohra then sealed things in style, knocking off the target of 100 with almost eight overs to spare.
Super Kings, on the other hand, had Mumbai at 83 for 6 after 12 overs, before Kieron Pollard showed grit and gumption. Still, the target of 149 was hardly daunting for a line-up like Super Kings'. A series of poor shots though pushed them so far behind in the chase that even a MS Dhoni special could not rescue the team. But Super Kings have seen it all before, and one game is hardly a measure of how an IPL season could turn out. If the players' tweets ribbing Ravindra Jadeja on the eve of the Mohali match are any indication, team morale is high. Plus, they have reinforcements in the form of South African allrounders, Albie Morkel and Chris Morris, who arrived following the conclusion of their domestic commitments. Morkel was an injury worry, turning an ankle during South Africa's T20 final on Sunday, but he has since tweeted that his scans are clear.
Kings XI are still without the services of injured Australian batsman Shaun Marsh - he tweeted on Saturday that he hoped to be with the team in a week's time.
Players to watch
So far, this IPL has thrown up a number of unlikely heroes. Rahul Shukla impressed with his pace for Rajasthan Royals, and Hanuma Vihari with an all-round showing for Sunrisers Hyderabad. Then there was 19-year-old Manan Vohra for Kings XI. Admittedly, he was not really under any pressure against Warriors, with the target being a paltry 100, but the fact that it was his IPL debut compensated for that; it was his first real taste of the crowds, the TV cameras, the hype. How did he respond? By slamming five fours in his first seven balls, carving through the covers, flicking through the leg side and, most impressively, swiveling to pull. He eventually finished unbeaten on 43 off 28. Vohra continuing where he left off will go a long way in helping Kings XI build on their remarkable start to the tournament.
Chris Morris set his base price at US$20,000 in February's IPL auction. He was bought for US$625,000; Super Kings paid 31 times the base price for the allrounder, who can be expected to produce accurate, pacy spells, and get a few big hits away down the order. Morris first caught the eye at the 2012 Champions League where his team, Lions, finished runners-up. On Sunday, he took 2 for 18 at 5.68 as Lions triumphed in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge, claiming the big wickets of Herschelle Gibbs and Albie Morkel. With Morkel unlikely to be 100% fit after his ankle trouble, and Ben Laughlin having an average game against Mumbai, there's a good chance Morris will get an IPL debut on Wednesday.
Stats and trivia
- Kings XI have won four of their last five IPL matches against Super Kings. Before that, they'd lost five in a row against them.
- Suresh Raina needs three sixes to become the second player, after Chris Gayle, to get to 100 sixes in the IPL. Gilchrist is third on the list, with 87 sixes.
- MS Dhoni has scored three fifties in eight innings against Kings XI, averaging 44.80 at a strike rate of 155.55
"Kings XI Punjab have never won their opening match in the IPL earlier. That is the hoodoo we have got rid of. Every team hopes to start a tournament with a win and so we are going towards the right direction."
Captain Adam Gilchrist is relieved to start Kings XI's campaign with a win
Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo