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Gilchrist factor playing on Chargers’ mind

cricket Updated: Apr 16, 2011 02:16 IST
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Hindustan Times
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The last time the Deccan Chargers took on the Kings XI Punjab at home, Adam Gilchrist put the hosts on course for their first triumph in the opening 17 minutes. The run riot left every Chargers' supporter praying that the former Australia stumper stayed on to kill the contest.

A year later, the same supporters would be ho ping that the 39-year-old fails to bring his scoring prowess with the gear when he steps on the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium turf on Saturday in KXIP colours.

Even Chargers' coach,Darren Lehmann, who played with Gilchrist for Australia and worked with him here for two years, admitted the former skipper was a big threat. “Hopefully, he will not get the explosive start he used to have while he was here.”

The two teams have not just traded captains in the auction, but also undergone an overhaul, which would mean that Gilchrist and Kumar Sangakkara's experience in opposite camps may mean little when it comes to plotting the downfall of their former teams.

However, it will definitely be advantage Gilchrist as far as batting conditions at the venue are concerned, with the hard-hitting opener expected to enjoy the better bounce and carry from the surface.

Both the Chargers and KXIP go into the contest on a high after unearthing two match-winners. First, Paul Valthaty scored a scintillating century to help KXIP upset favourites Chennai Super Kings, and on Thursday, an out-of-favour Bharat Chipli proved his worth with a well-paced half century to end the Chargers' losing run here.

The teams are unlikely to tinker with their winning combinations, though the Chargers will be tempted to bring in vice-captain Cameron White, who joined the squad on Thursday after Australia's successful tour of Bangladesh.

The only concern for the teams could be rain after unseasonal showers lashed the city on Friday, forcing the teams to cancel practice.