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CSK face a task as race hots up in cool climes

cricket Updated: Apr 18, 2010 00:34 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta
Hindustan Times
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Did they or didn't they? The question hung heavy on this small town until the BCCI bigwigs left on Saturday morning claiming they just watched the match and didn't discuss anything.

Their assertions, as well as that of Lalit Modi, notwithstanding, one will need to take that claim with a pinch of salt. But whatever be the case, their departure brought back the focus on cricket.

After witnessing a keen contest between the Kings XI and the Deccan Chargers the other day, the people here have an equally enthralling game coming their way on Sunday with the Chennai Super Kings taking on the Kings XI in what is a make or break game for the former.

The loss to the Delhi Daredevils in the last game had diminished the semifinal hopes of the Chennai Super Kings, and with the Deccan Chargers' win over the Kings XI on Friday it has become even bleaker.

What makes their task even more challenging is the fact that they will have little time to acclimatise. They flew into the town from Chennai on Saturday afternoon, and will have no time to get used to the high altitude. Besides, the quick and bouncy track here is in contrast to the low and sluggish Chennai track, where they have operated with three spinners. Both, the bowlers and the batsmen, will need to adapt quickly to the conditions if they have to keep their hopes alive.

The current form of the team, however, inspires little confidence. Their two biggest match winners — Matthew Hayden and MS Dhoni — have been a pale shadow of their actual self so far in the tournament and without significant contributions from them, the team doesn't look going too far. Even in the bowling department, Doug Bollinger seems to be the only bowler who could trouble batsmen on this track.

For Kings XI, a chance to finish off the otherwise abysmal outing would be a good enough incentive to throw in all they have in their last game. "We play every game to win, and it won't be any different against on Sunday even if it happens to be our last game," said skipper Kumar Sangakkara.

So, the cricket enthusiasts here have a cracker of a game coming their way. They will surely enjoy it, provided they manage to get into the stadium. Hundreds were locked outside the stadium in the last game as it was already packed to the rafters. The franchise obviously has its task cut out as far as managing the crowd is concerned.