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Yuvi’s army ready to roll over Deccan Chargers

Rain threat looms large as Deccan Chargers look to play for pride when they take on Kings XI Punjab on Friday. The Preity Zinta-owned team would be looking to seal another win to confirm their berth in the semi-finals of the Indian Premier League.

Languishing at the bottom of the table with just two wins from 11 matches so far, the Deccan Chargers have no hope left, but they would be anxious to salvage a win here.

It by no means would be an easy task as the Chargers are up against a team that would be playing on their home turf and have won eight of their 11 games so far.

The Punjab side, that on Wednesday defeated Mumbai Indians by one run in a thrilling encounter in Mumbai, know that despite having almost qualified for the semi-finals, they will need one more win to be on the safer side when the list of four teams is drawn.

An area of concern at the moment is unseasonal rain in the northern region of the country.

The meteorological department in Chandigarh has forecast moderate to heavy rain till Friday.

Punjab Cricket Association curator Daljit Singh, also the chairman of BCCI’s grounds and pitches committee, said he had been keeping the wickets covered for the past couple of days. “If wickets are covered for long, it will result in moisture which will make the ball seam more. It won’t be a good situation for the batsmen. But we are hoping that rain doesn’t fall on Friday at least.

We have three super soppers and other equipment to dry the ground, which should not be a problem, but only thing is that we should get some sunshine for a few hours,” Daljit said.

Former Australian batsman Geoff Marsh’s 24-year-old son Shaun Marsh has been a leading run getter for Punjab, producing a few match-winning knocks for his team like Wednesday’s knock of 81.

With his Australian counterpart 23-year-old Luke Pomersbach, both the left-handers are emerging as a dangerous combination.

Then there are the likes of Sri Lankan pair Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene and captain Yuvraj Singh, who even though has not had a good run with the bat, is still capable of launching an attack single-handedly.

Chargers would be looking forward to a big innings from Adam Gilchrist and hoping that Shahid Afridi lives up to his reputation.

It would be interesting to see how Rohit Sharma and Herschelle Gibbs treat the Punjab bowlers.

Gilchrist on Thursday admitted that his team, Deccan Chargers, have been “outplayed” and they would be playing to get “some momentum going” in their remaining IPL games. “We have been outplayed in big areas though a number of games have been quite close. But close enough is not good enough,” Gilchrist said during a pre-match news conference.

Gilchrist did not blame any individual for the poor show and said the team failed to click as a unit.

About Shahid Afridi’s poor run in the tournament, he said, “I can say we all could have done better. No individual has necessarily let us down”.

On Cricket Australia having begun formulating regulations to start a IPL-type competition Down Under, the Australian wicket-keeper batsman said he read but was not much aware much about it.

“I don’t have too much data. But obviously, Twenty20 cricket is a big thing now. It’s big part of cricket calendar,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kings XI Punjab’s Kumar Sangakkara and Luke Pomersbach said they were looking forward to wrap it up quickly on Friday.

“We are not looking at mathematical permutations and combinations. Our job is to win and in the end we are playing to win,” Sangakkara said, adding he was recovering well from his injury.

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