It is getting hotter by the day in Hyderabad. The sun, it seems, is almost intent on beating down on the city in all its glory, bringing it to a standstill. The afternoons, predictably, are the worst. With the sun at its fiercest best, the task of stepping out in the open itself assumes challenging proportions.
For the players of Hyderabad and Mohali, however, the heat would be the last thing playing on their minds. The two teams are up against each other in a crucial IPL game here at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Thursday, and if their respective practice sessions were indicative of the action on the morrow, there could be some real fireworks on offer.
Four o’clock on an April afternoon is not exactly a comfortable time to have nets, but that was when the home team decided to schedule their nets, with the visitors starting a little later.
Having notched up their first win in the competition in their last outing against Mumbai, V.V.S. Laxman’s team know the importance of maintaining the momentum against Mohali. It was a good all-round performance from Hyderabad at the DY Patil Stadium on Sunday, and nothing less than a similar performance would suffice if they are to beat a Mohali side high on confidence.
Though Adam Gilchrist, with that hurricane of a ton, was the undoubted star of the show against Mumbai, the bowlers too did a good job of stifling the Mumbai batsmen.
The inclusion of Sri Lankan Nuwan Zoysa in the place of countryman Chaminda Vaas proved to be a judicious move, while the likes of Sanjay Bangar and D. Kalyankrishna too had decent outings. With Andrew Symonds having left for Australia and the other bats yet to fire, the over reliance on Gilchrist could be a worry for Laxman.
His counterpart, Yuvraj Singh, too has a few worries of his own. Already without trump card, Brett Lee, for the rest of the tournament, the news of S. Sreesanth being down with fever was certainly not how he would have liked to extend the string of two wins. The colourful pacer missed practice on Wednesday, and though the team management is yet to take a call on his inclusion, his absence might be a telling blow for Mohali.
If Hyderabad were good in their defeat of Mumbai, Mohali were clinical in their dismantling of the Delhi batting. Yuvraj’s team took a long while to gel in the competition, but once they had their first win against Mumbai, they looked like a completely new unit against Delhi.
Something that Hyderabad would love to emulate. It is essential to build on a win in any sport, and with both teams looking to do exactly that on Thursday, the stage looks set for a classic.