Punjab play for pride against Mumbai

With only pride to play for from here on, Kings XI Punjab would be banking on home advantage when they take on Mumbai Indians in an IPL match on Friday.

updated: April 09, 2010 16:52 IST
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With only pride to play for from here on, the bruised and battered Kings XI Punjab would be banking on home advantage when they take on table-toppers Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League match here on Friday.

With no hopes of making it to the semifinals, the outcome of the tie is inconsequential for Kumar Sangakkara-led Punjab, which has managed just two victories from 10 outings, but Tendulkar's men would like to have another win under their belt to stamp their authority at the top.

Mumbai are currently at the top with 14 points having won seven of their nine games and are virtually assured of a semi-final berth.

Mumbai's only reversals came against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings in a match where the team's skipper Sachin Tendulkar had to retire because of heat and exhaustion.

With evening temperatures at Mohali settling around 18-20 degree Celsius these days and humidity levels quite low, Tendulkar is surely going to enjoy the perfect batting conditions at the PCA stadium.

The master batsman is the second highest run getter in the tournament having made 394 runs from nine matches.

"He is a champion player. We missed him when he had to retire the other day (Tuesday's match). He is in such terrific form?By the grace of God, the team as a whole is playing good cricket and hope our good run continues," Mumbai off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said after the team's arrival here.

Harbhajan along with team-mate Zaheer Khan are among the top five wicket takers in the tournament, having scalped 11 wickets each.

Tendulkar has also exuded confidence that the team would continue its good show, saying "we hope to continue the winning momentum."

Besides these players, Mumbai have also been bolstered by the presence of West Indian Kieron Pollard, the most expensive buy in the IPL-III.

Their bowling too looks solid with Lasith Malinga and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo leading the attack.

Meanwhile, there has been no end to the miseries of the Punjab, who slumped to a nine-wicket loss at the hands of Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur last night despite chasing a modest total.

The team has had some great performances in patches, but when it comes to clicking as a unit, they have failed to rise to the occasion, something which has also caused great concern to Sangakkara.

Having played 10 matches, the team has registered only one convincing win against Kolkata Knight Riders while their first victory came via a Super Over.

Star player Yuvraj Singh has failed to play any big knock while Sangakkara, too, has struggled with his form on most occasions. Ravi Bopara has not made much impact either.

Mahela Jayawardene, who struggled earlier has, however, looked in good touch in the last two matches and Punjab would be hoping that he comes good again.

Punjab's bowling has looked ordinary with pacers S Sreesanth, Brett Lee, Irfan Pathan and Salabh Srivastava failing.

The pick among the bowlers, however, has been another pacer Juan Theron but he has only played a couple of games.

With nothing to lose, Punjab, which has also lost four of its home games, should now look to play freely and salvage some pride.