Top of table clash


Indian Premier League leaders Kings XI Punjab pay a visit to third-placed Chennai Super Kings on Saturday in a top of the table clash.

Both teams are on 10 points apiece, but Punjab boast a far superior run-rate than the Chennai side who were involved in a dramatic last ball win over the Delhi Daredevils in their last game.

Chasing a massive total of 187, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's side stumbled after a good start, but in the end held their nerves to claim 15 runs of the final over and a four-wicket victory, which finally ended their three-match losing streak.

Punjab, meanwhile, took their winning streak to five games after easily chasing down Bangalore's 126 with six wickets to spare in their last game.

Preity Zinta, the Indian actress who owns Kings XI Punjab, has purchased a team brimming with all-round talent and boosted by the coaching skills of Tom Moody – coach of last year's World Cup finalists Sri Lanka. Even the departure of Australian fast bowler Brett Lee to international commitments has not stopped the side from steamrolling all competition in recent weeks.

Both teams are captained by the two most expensive Indian players in the League.

Yuvraj Singh cost Punjab $1,063,750 (Dh3.87 million), while Dhoni, who earned the highest price tag in the pre-tournament auction, cost $1.5m (Dh5.47m).

The last time these sides met though, in their first games of the IPL, Chennai edged out Punjab but on Saturday it is Dhoni's team who will be underdogs.

Punjab's success can be narrowed down to the fact that they have two impressive Twenty20 bowlers in Irfan Pathan and Sree Sreesanth to support their batsman. The IPL has proved almost any batsman can hit but not every bowler can hold their nerve and produce outstanding spells.

Pathan is proving he is one of India's best all-rounders and his economical bowling spells coupled with cameo innings when needed makes him one of the most valuable players in the competition.

As far as batsman goes, Punjab have a vital trump card in Yuvraj, who is well supported by West Indies' Ramnaresh Sarwan, Australia's Shaun Marsh and Sri Lankan duo Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara and, of course, Pathan.

Chennai's Dhoni has not quite set the tournament alight as expected. His batting has been somewhat circumspect and he has instead allowed the players around him to take the honours. He will need to take charge today though if he wants his side to win.