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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Kings XI's semi-final hopes may be dealt a blow by Mumbai

Pacy Pandya could punish visitors

Hardik Pandya celebrates a wicket for India
1 of 1

Mumbai v Kings XI Sky Cricket 3.30pm Wednesday

England have called up uncapped Somerset off-spinner Dominic Bess for the first Test of a two-match series against Pakistan, which begins at Lord's next Thursday.

Twenty-year-old Bess has taken just one first-class wicket for Somerset this season but gets his chance after Somerset teammate Jack Leach was ruled out of contention with a broken thumb.

Batsman Joss Buttler and paceman Mark Wood have been recalled to the squad, having been left out of England's Ashes party.

But James Vince, who batted at number three against the Aussies, has been overlooked.

Pakistan warmed up for the first Test by completing a five-wicket victory over Ireland in Malahide, Dublin.

Kevin O'Brien's second innings 118 had given hope to the Irish in their maiden Test match as they reached 339 and set Pakistan a victory target of 160.

Pakistan were in trouble at 14-3 after top-order batsman Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail and Asad Shafiq were dismissed for two, seven and one.

But an unbeaten 74 from Imam Ul-Haq settled the nerves of the tourists, who reached their target just before tea.

Poor middle-order batting has hampered Kings XI Punjab's push for an IPL semi-final slot and it could leave them vulnerable against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium.

Kings XI's openers, Chris Gayle and KL Rahul, have starred this year but they have used ten different players in positions three to six and the lack of a settled batting line up could be exposed by Mumbai, whose pace attack features Hardik Pandya - the second-top bowler in the tournament with 18 wickets.

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Poor middle-order batting has hampered Kings XI Punjab's push for an IPL semi-final slot
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