x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Captains optimistic heading into battle of the cellar-dwellers

Having each got their first win of the tournament in the last game, Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals will go all out against each other tonight.

Having each got their first win of the tournament in the last game, Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals will go head-to-head tonight hoping to climb out of the cellar of the Indian Premier League table. After three consecutive defeats and nondescript performances, Kings XI Punjab managed to stun Chennai Super Kings in a super over eliminator on Sunday night, giving Kumar Sangakkara, the captain, confidence that the worst is behind them.

"After three losses, I am proud of the effort [against the Super Kings]," said Sangakkara, who must have been pleased to see Yuvraj Singh return to form. "It wasn't a pretty win, but the guys responded well to finish it off. "I am very happy with the performance of Rusty [Juan Theron], Irfan Pathan, Shalabh Srivastava and the spinners. "But we know we did not bat to our potential, and there is hard work ahead."

The Rajasthan Royals were also surprise winners when the Kolkata Knight Riders, set to chase 169, fell short by 34 runs. Shane Warne, the Royals captain, is hoping that win will see a turnaround in the fortunes of the 2008 IPL champions. "The way we played in some of our earlier matches was really embarrassing," said Warne, whose team are without star players Shane Watson, Graeme Smith and Dmitry Mascarenhas.

"We made an ordinary start, but the way we played [in the last game] was great and the guys showed lot of character to win this one." "This is a good start for us and hopefully it will help us to go a long way in this league." @Email:arizvi@thenational.ae Kings XI Punjab v Rajasthan Royals, 6.30pm, Cricone