Kings XI Punjab v Chennai Super Kings, 2nd semi-final May 30, 2008

Favourites Punjab take on bogey team

Match facts

Saturday, May 31
Start time 20.00 (local), 14.30 (GMT)

Yuvraj Singh striking form is a cause of concern for Chennai Super Kings (file photo) © AFP

The Big Picture

Kings XI Punjab may start as overwhelming favourites to meet Rajasthan Royals in the final but if there's one team they might have wanted to avoid in the semi-finals it would probably have been Chennai Super Kings. Punjab have been nearly unstoppable in the competition but Chennai have found a way to get past them twice - first on the back of Michael Hussey's century in Mohali and later thanks to L Balaji's five-wicket haul in Chennai.

However, it would require a special effort for Chennai to make it three in three. A fine mix of foreign batsmen and Indian bowlers makes Punjab the most balanced side in the tournament. Shaun Marsh has consistently set up launch pads and Yuvraj Singh couldn't have regained his touch at a better time - as he did with a ballistic 16-ball 49 in the final league match against Rajasthan.

Chennai's batting has been a worry ever since Matthew Hayden and Hussey left and things have got trickier with the departure of Stephen Fleming. Albie Morkel has provided much needed stability but it may ultimately require Suresh Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni to guide them to a winning total.

Tournament position

Kings XI Punjab: P14, W10, L4, NRR +0.509
Chennai Super Kings: P14, W8, L6, NRR -0.192

Form (last five completed matches, most recent first)

Kings XI Punjab: WLWWW
Chennai Super Kings: WLLWL

Watch out for ...

  • Muttiah Muralitharan against Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Murali has dismissed both at crucial stages of earlier games.

  • Chennai's new opening pair with Fleming missing in action.

  • How Dhoni uses Balaji - especially after his hat-trick while bowling at the death in the previous match.

    Team news

    At the end of Punjab's previous game, the out-of-touch Yuvraj had claimed that they had found the "right combination". James Hopes, who was struggling with the bat, came good and he along with Irfan Pathan offer flexibility. Mahela Jayawardene missed the last game but he could return, especially given the threat Murali poses. Luke Pomersbach may have to make way but he, in his defence, can point to the half-century he made on this ground a few weeks ago.

    Kings XI Punjab (likely) 1 Shaun Marsh, 2 James Hopes, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Yuvraj Singh (capt), 5 Mahela Jayawardene, 6 Tanmay Srivatsava, 7 Irfan Pathan, 8 Piyush Chawla, 9 Ramesh Powar, 10 VRV Singh, 11 Sreesanth.

    Fleming's absence may provide an opening for S Vidyut or S Anirudha (the son of former Indian opener Kris Srikkanth) unless Chennai decide to push Abhinav Mukund to the top of the order. Chamara Kapugedera would be expected to beef up the middle order. The rest of the line-up is likely to be unchanged from the one that won comprehensively against Deccan Chargers.

    Chennai Super Kings (likely) 1 Parthiv Patel (wk), 2 S Vidyut, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), 5 Chamara Kapugedera, 6 S Badrinath, 7 Albie Morkel, 8 Manpreet Gony, 9 L Balaji, 10 Muttiah Muralitharan, 11 Makhaya Ntini.

    Stats and trivia

  • Punjab have the best run-rate in the tournament (9.05). Chennai are third on the list with 8.50.

  • Chennai have struck the fewest sixes in the Powerplay (9). Punjab have a whopping 26 sixes in comparison.

  • Murali has spells of 1 for 33 and 1 for 32 in the two games against Punjab, both important efforts in the context of the games.


    "We had beaten them early in the tournament when we had our strongest team and later on even without the overseas players we still managed to win. It's an advantage to go into the semi-finals against them with this record."
    Kepler Wessels, the Chennai coach, talks up his team's prospects.

    "It's a different ground and circumstances are different. We are coming into the game with greater confidence and will be looking to do our best with ball, bat and on the field."
    Tom Moody, the Punjab coach, isn't reading too much into his side's previous losses against Chennai.

    Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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