x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Kings XI face the in-form Indians

With captain Kumar Sangakkara banned for a game, the beleaguered side meet Mumbai Indians in Sachin Tendulkar's back yard tonight.

Struggling for form and without the suspended Kumar Sangakkara, their captain, a beleaguered Kings XI Punjab face the onerous task of derailing the Mumbai Indians when they meet in Sachin Tendulkar's back yard tonight. After failing to live up to their billing in the first two seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Mumbai have looked the best side in this year's instalment and need just three more wins from the remaining eight games to book their spot in the semi-finals for the first time.

Confidence is high but Tendulkar is not ready to leave anything to chance. "So far it's been good, but we don't want to lose this momentum," said Tendulkar, who has scored 303 runs with four half-centuries in six games. "It's all about momentum and keeping the fighting spirits high. That's what we have got going in the team right now and we want to continue that." Besides their captain, the Mumbai Indians have had contributions across the board: Saurabh Tiwary, Ambati Rayudu, Zaheer Khan, Lasith Malinga and Ryan McLaren have all stepped up.

Harbhajan Singh has had a blast, too, using Tendulkar's bat to smack an 18-ball 49 to beat the Deccan Chargers in the last game. His stunning effort has given his side belief that any of their players can be match winners. "I am really happy the way things have gone for our side and we have worked really hard," said Harbhajan. "We have that belief that anyone can win a game in our team for us. And our win [against the Chargers] showed that. It's a great thing."

The Kings XI have no such luxuries. The team have disappointed with both bat and ball, and their sluggish bowling rate has resulted in a one-match ban for Sangakkara after the offence was reported for a third time. @Email:arizvi@thenational.ae Mumbai v Kings XI, 6.30pm, Live on Cricone