May 12, 2009
Start time 16.30 (14.30 GMT, 20.15 IST)
The scramble for the semi-final spots picks up pace with the Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians, ranked fifth and sixth respectively, taking on each other in Centurion. Seven teams still have a chance of making the semi-finals, with only Kolkata ruled out of the competition. With the tournament entering its business end, any slip-ups here will affect the teams' chances of qualifying.
For Mumbai, it's essential they continue the momentum because they have a game each against Delhi and Chennai, the top two teams in the competition. They made refreshing progress with their batting in their previous game but they will have to summon up some consistency in their forthcoming matches.
A victory for Punjab will push them up to No.4 but a defeat will see them slip one notch below. They too have tough games coming up, so staying afloat will be a challenge. They still haven't figured out their strongest line-up, going by the number of changes in the batting. It's time for the experimentation to end.
Form guide (completed matches, most recent first)
Kings XI Punjab - WLLWL
The relief was palpable in the Punjab camp when they stuttered to victory against Deccan Chargers after two successive defeats, but the composition of their top order is still a worry. In the last five games, they have tried out three different opening combinations and perhaps the only player who has cemented his position is Simon Katich. Karan Goel and Sunny Sohal have been inconsistent, while Kumar Sangakkara was also tried out, only to be pushed down the order. On the positive side, Mahela Jayawardene has returned to form after a quiet start and the bowling wears a more settled look.
Mumbai Indians - WLLLW
Three successive defeats threatened to derail Mumbai's campaign but the tournament's underachievers overcame their batting woes to script a 16-run win against Royal Challengers Bangalore. They reworked their batting order, promoting Ajinkya Rahane and reinstating Sanath Jayasuriya to the top, and lost only two wickets in the innings. The bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals and later strangled the runs.
Watch out forJP Duminy: The third-highest run-getter in the IPL has scored the most half-centuries (4) in the tournament. His ability to finish off an innings in style came in handy in his team's last two victories.
Mumbai will wait on the fitness of Zaheer Khan, who missed the last two games. If he comes in, Dhawal Kulkarni may have to make way.
Mumbai Indians 1 Sachin Tendulkar, 2 Sanath Jayasuriya, 3 Ajinkya Rahane, 4 JP Duminy, 5 Abhishek Nayar, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Harbhajan Singh, 8 Yogesh Takawale (wk), 9 Chetanya Nanda, 10 Dhawal Kulkarni/Zaheer Khan, 11 Lasith Malinga
Punjab may retain their winning line-up, but the one main worry is Sreesanth's inconsistency.
Kings XI Punjab (probable) 1 Sunny Sohal, 2 Simon Katich, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Mahela Jayawardene, 6 Irfan Pathan, 7 Wilkin Mota, 8 Piyush Chawla, 9 Brett Lee, 10 Sreesanth, 11 Ramesh Powar
Stats and trivia
- Giving away extras may prove to be the Achilles heel for Punjab in the run-up to the last four. They have the dubious distinction of giving away 19 against Rajasthan in Durban, the highest in the tournament so far. They have also given away the third-highest number of freebies - 17 against Mumbai in Durban.
- Mahela Jayawardene has not only been in supreme form with the bat, he needs two more catches to go level with AB de Villiers of Delhi Daredevils for the most number of catches this season.
- Mumbai have the highest margin victory in terms of runs, when they thrashed Kolkata by 92 in Port Elizabeth. Chennai also had a similar margin of victory against Bangalore at the same venue.
Mumbai have lost all three games against Punjab so far. In their earlier meeting in this tournament, in Durban, Yusuf Abdulla helped Punjab clinch a last-over thriller. Few would have given them a chance after they managed just 119. Despite Duminy's composed fifty, Mumbai fell short by three runs. They played out a similar thriller in Mumbai last year, with Punjab winning by one run. Punjab won the first encounter between the two teams last year by 66 runs.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo