Mohali:Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians clash on Friday in a high-octane event of the Indian Premier League after both teams lost their first two matches.
Kings XI and Mumbai Indians are languishing at the bottom of the points tally and will hope to pocket their first win when they meet at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium.
While Kings XI have an array of stars in its side, Mumbai Indians, led by Sachin Tendulkar, are the costliest IPL franchise. Both teams will look to justify their 'favourite' tag.
The Mumbai team will be hoping to have Tendulkar take charge and inspire the team.
Tendulkar missed the first two games due a to a groin strain and is likely to appear in his first T20 match on Friday. Harbhajan Singh, who is handling the captaincy in the absence of Tendulkar, said on Wednesday that they were hoping to have the master blaster in the team against Kings XI.
It will be an uphill task for Kings XI, led by Yuvraj Singh, to counter the Mumbai Indians who were close to victory in both their encounters against Bangalore's Royal Challengers and Chennai's Super Kings.
Mumbai XI fell short by just six runs while chasing 208 against Super Kings on Wednesday. Mumbai all-rounder Abhishek Nayar hit a defiant 45 in 20 balls and along with Harbhajan (28) almost saw the team through after their top-order collapsed.
However, home advantage is something Yuvraj will be hoping to cash in on against the young Mumbai Indians side.
The Mohali team have a star-studded line-up with big names like Brett Lee, Kumara Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Sreesanth, Piyush Chawla and Irfan Pathan in its ranks. But they have a problem or two on their hands.
Kings XI, in their opening encounter against Super Kings on Saturday faltered in their bowling department giving away over 240 runs, while in the next outing against less-fancied Rajasthan Royals on Monday their batsmen let them down. Most importantly, Yuvraj will be under pressure to prove his mettle as a leader.
The home team will like to cash in on Sreesanth and Lee's exploits on the fast Mohali pitch, which is known to suit pacers. The top order remains a worry for the Mumbai Indians as Luke Ronchi and the explosive Sanath Jayasuriya have still to get their act together.
On the other hand, their middle-order comprising Robin Uthappa, Nayar and South African all-rounder Shaun Pollock looks impressive.
The bowling of the Mumbai side also looked flat and they conceded 200 plus runs against Super Kings on Wednesday.
Mumbai Indians will have to get their combination right and Tendulkar's presence on the field on Friday might be just the stroke of luck they are looking for.
This would be a battle to watch out for as both the teams' fortunes in the tournament depend on the outcome of the match.
Mumbai Indians: Sachin Tendulkar (captain), Loots Bosman, Ankeet Chavan, Siddharth Chitnis, Gaurav Dhiman, Dilhara Fernando, Harbhajan Singh, Sanath Jayasuriya, Musavir Khote, Dhawal Kulkarni, Lasith Malinga Abhishek Nayar, Ashish Nehra, Manish Pandey, Rajesh Pawar, Shaun Pollock, Ashwell Prince, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohan Raje, Luke Ronchi (wicket-keeper), Pinal Shah, Swapnil Singh, Yogesh Vijay Takawale, Dominic Thornely, Saurabh Tiwary, Robin Uthappa, Vikrant Yeligati.
Kings XI Punjab: Yuvraj Singh (captain), Irfan Pathan, Ramesh Powar, Sreesanth, James Hopes, Simon Katich, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, Luke Pomersbach, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara (wicket-keeper), Kyle Mills, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Ajitesh Argal, Piyush Chawla, Pankaj Dharmani, Rishi Dhawan, Karan Goel, Uday Kaul, Sahil Kukreja, Wilkin Mota, Nitin Saini, Vikram Singh, Sunny Sohal, Tanmay Srivastava.