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Rain or shine, Kings XI is sitting pretty

The Kings XI Punjab arrived from Mumbai and brought some much-needed sunshine along to brighten up the prospects of a timely start to Friday’s DLF-Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket match against Deccan Chargers.

It has been raining here for the past couple of days. Though the ground-staff at the Punjab Cricket Stadium here is doing its bit, any further rain on Friday can indeed prove a dampener.

In the present scenario, Kings XI is not really desperate to have a game. Virtually in the semifinals, the host would not mind a free point in case of a washout and then travel to Kolkata for its last away game knowing well that its place in the last four is fully secure.

Theoretically, the only way Kings XI can get worried over its place in the semifinals is by losing its remaining two matches.

Thereafter, should four teams end up on 16 points, the net run-rate will be the decisive factor. But going by the fluctuating forms of the other teams in the race for the semifinals spots, the in-form Kings XI appears safe.

The manner in which Kings XI pulled off the stunning one-run victory over Mumbai Indians on Wednesday showed that the team was far from complacent in spite of occupying the second spot in the league.

After losing the first two games, Yuvraj Singh and his men have raised the intensity and never let go of the momentum gained from well-earned triumphs.

They would surely like to continue the run till the job on hand is finished.

The combination of overseas batsmen at the top of the order and home-grown bowlers has worked wonderfully well for Kings XI.

Though Yuvraj himself is yet to play to his reputation, his team is packed with individuals who have performed to meet the demands of the situation.

On the other hand, Deccan Chargers presents an irony of sorts.

With names like Adam Gilchrist, Herschelle Gibbs, Shahid Afridi and the now-absent Andrew Symonds, the team rightly started as among the favourites for a place in the semifinals.

However, the inconsistency of its reputed batsmen and inadequate bowling resources, notwithstanding R.P. Singh’s wicket-taking abilities, combined to push the team down the slope.

For the better part of the last fortnight, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Deccan Chargers have been keeping each other’s company in the cellar.

Now that Royal Challengers has posted its third victory, Deccan Chargers would like to catch up.

Should Gilchrist or Afridi fire the way they are capable of in the remaining matches, Deccan Chargers can hope to get out of the bottom of the league table.

Like its Bangalore counterpart, the Hyderabad outfit too is playing to salvage some pride. After all, neither team would like to hold the proverbial wooden spoon.

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