A clash of kings in Mumbai

The time has come for Mahendra Singh Dhoni to justify his huge price tag. (GETTY IMAGES)

It is a royal clash in the second Indian Premier League semi-final as the Chennai Super Kings face the Kings XI Punjab in Mumbai today.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Chennai come into the game as the underdogs and have received a further setback after former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming left for home to be with his wife for the birth of their child.

The man likely to get the nod in Fleming's place is Chamara Kapugedera, a 21-year old opening batsman from Sri Lanka. He is also a handy medium pace bowler, and is an additional option to support the bowling attack of Makhaya Ntini, Manpreet Gony, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Albie Morkel and Muttiah Muralitharan.

Despite the Fleming loss, Chennai captain Dhoni is confident that Suresh Raina, Morkel and himself are in fine form and they will still field a strong batting line-up.

"I think, our batting, especially the middle-order, has been performing well," said Dhoni, on the Chennai Super Kings website. "Perhaps, if we can get some good starts, it would be even better.

"However, it's our bowling that we need to work on. But overall, it is pretty satisfying to have reached the semi-finals of such a prestigious tournament as the IPL."

Kings XI Punjab finished second in the IPL just two-points adrift of Rajesthan and the Yuvraj Singh-led team are riding high on the brilliance of Australian Shaun Marsh.

The bargain of the IPL, Marsh has being simply unbelievable as an opener. After costing a meagre $30,000 (Dh94,800), the Australian has jumped to the top of the scoring charts scoring 593 runs at an incredible average of 74.12.

Marsh comes into the final on the back of stunning 69-ball 115 in his last game and if Chennai want to give themselves any chance of winning the game, they will need to dismiss him early.

That still may not be enough as Yuvraj looked back his best in the last game and he is ably backed up by all-rounder Irfan Pathan and Sri Lankan's Kumar Sangakarra and Mahela Jayawardena in a strong line-up.

 

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