Mumbai:With Shaun Marsh in awesome touch and the combination of other players they possess, King's XI Punjab have a distinct edge over Chennai Super Kings when the two teams clash in the second semi-final of the Indian Premier League at the Wankhede stadium on Saturday.
The left-handed opener from Western Australia stole the thunder from all the batsmen and has been a real revelation for the fans of the game with his superb batting style, classical cricketing shots being its cornerstone.
Predict the winner
He appears as a major stumbling block in front of the Chennai side as he emerged as the highest run-getter (593 runs from 10 games) in the competition despite not playing in the initial part of the 59-match event.
The victors of this tie would take on the winners of tonight's first semi-final between table toppers Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils in the June 1 summit clash of the 44-day Twenty20 event, which has been a huge hit in the country.
The strength of Punjab lies in the fantastic array of batsmen they have apart from Marsh who has been opening the innings of late with Australian all rounder James Hopes.
In Sri Lankans, with Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene the team possesses two of the finest talents in the world.
Then there are Yuvraj, who has surprisingly underperformed in a format which he dominated thoroughly in the inaugural World Cup last September in South Africa which India won and the dangerous Luke Pomersbach to add meat to the middle order.
Marsh, given a reprieve by Robin Uthappa early on, took the match away from Mumbai Indians at the same venue on May 21 in the company of Pomersbach and Chennai Super Kings will be wary of the duo's abilities to score at a fast clip.
The very strong Punjab batting is backed up by efficient bowling manned by S Sreesanth, Irfan Pathan, V R V Singh and Piyush Chawla, giving the team a truly formidable look.
Chennai Super Kings, who finished third in the points table behind Rajasthan and Punjab do have the wherewithal to compete against their rivals, but man for man they fall a bit short.
They certainly will feel the absence of former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming at the top of the order. He has gone home to be with his wife who's expecting a child and in his absence Parthiv Patel is expected to open the innings with S Vidyut or Anirudha Srikkanth.
It's in the top of the order where Chennai look weak as compared to Punjab while the middle order has Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath, Dhoni and exciting South African all rounder Albie Morkel -- a good line-up but clearly weaker than their rivals'.
Makhaya Ntini seems to have rediscovered some of his rhythm but Dhoni would be wary of his proclivity to go back to bowling loose balls.
Morkel, Manpreet Gony, the fit-again Laxmipathy Balaji and spin ace Muttiah Muralitharan give the Chennai attack a healthy look and would need to be at their best to put shackles on the strong Punjab batting order.
Punjab King's XI: Yuvraj Singh (C), Mahela Jayawardene, Shaun Marsh, James Hopes, Kumara Sangakkara, Luke Pomersbach, Irfan Pathan, Ramesh Powar, Piyush Chawla, Uday Kaul (wk), S Sreesanth, V R V Singh, Tanmay Srivastava, Karan Goel, Gagandeep Singh. Coach Tom Moody.
Chennai Super Kings: M S Dhoni (Capt.), Parthiv Patel, Vidyut S, Anirudha S, Suresh Raina, S Badrinath, A Morkel, M Muralitharan, L Balaji, Manpreet Singh Gony, Makhaya Ntini, Joginder Sharma, Chamara Kapugedara, Abhinav Mukund, Joginder Sharma, R Ashwin, Sudeep Tyagi. Coach: Kepler Wessels.
Umpires: Darryl Harper and Asad Rauf
Third Umpire: K Hariharan
Match Referee: S Venkataraghavan
Hours of play: 2000 hrs to close of play.