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Clash of captains in the offing

cricket Updated: Apr 17, 2010 00:34 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
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There isn't much you can say about a match featuring two teams who really don't have much to look forward to. Yet, there is something about Saturday's Kolkata Knight Riders-Rajasthan Royals match that makes it different from a clash between also-rans. It's Sourav Ganguly versus Shane Warne after all.

The two natural leaders, who have a natural ability to bring the best out of their players, have had contrasting runs in the IPL so far. While Warne won the inaugural edition, Ganguly's team has not even managed to make it to the last four. Chances of that happening are minimal this year, but Ganguly is living in hope. "Two wins in the two remaining matches is what we are looking at, not thinking about anything beyond it," Ganguly said. His team have an academic chance of reaching the semifinals, but Ganguly isn't being pessimistic. His team, however, needs more than good attitude to make it to the business end of the competition.

Mathematically, Warne's team stands a slightly better chance of advancing, but that will depend on their net run rate and how the other teams do. Their chances were dashed late last year by the Knights and this time, they are not much better placed. So it has come to pass that Saturday's match has been reduced largely to a battle of two individuals; Ganguly versus Warne - always a mouth-watering contest on paper.

It is unfortunate that two of the greatest characters of contemporary cricket don't have much at stake at the crucial stage of a much-hyped competition. But that is cricket. Rather that is the IPL.