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Jaipur hope it is their night on a hot day

Thursday's clash pitting Kolkata against Jaipur finds the teams contrastingly placed in the import-export game, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.
Hindustan Times | By Atreyo Mukhopadhyay, Jaipur
UPDATED ON MAY 01, 2008 01:37 AM IST

Not the best time to visit the ragged terrains of this state enriched by tales of royal gallantry, because the heat is literally on.

The captain announced it was 41 degrees outside just after landing although that's par for the course in almost all IPL venues barring Bangalore, with the difference in humidity providing the only variation.

It's been almost two weeks since the gala opening in the city of gardens and techies and things are still to crystallize vis-à-vis who stands where and how. A costly slap, the ruckus over how much cheerleaders should wear and power failure - the IPL is yet to find a suitable place for cricket in its scheme of things.

This is not to blame the organisers or the franchisees because it was impossible for them to prepare for the wrong ones. It's just that this nonstop bombardment of T20 with equations changing according to the availability of foreigners and the high-profile hype around it is still so new that nobody knows when and how cricket would come to the fore.

Thursday's clash pitting Kolkata against Jaipur finds the teams contrastingly placed in the import-export game. Sourav Ganguly's team is going through a flux in the department of overseas players after Ricky Ponting and Brendon McCullum said goodbye.

The largely-untested but highly-rated Australian Brad Hodge has joined the squad with Salman Butt.

Shane Warne's team has no such worries.

They in fact have an exciting reinforcement in Dimitri Mascarenhus, the England T20 specialist of Sri Lankan origin, who in a short span has earned the reputation of being a 'sixer' specialist as well. Even without him, this team has batted well, with intent, power and success.

Ganguly's team probably needs a Shah Rukh Khan in the batting order. It has simply caved in thrice after McCullum's opening blitz.

With due credit to local players who have posted the top two scores in the last two games, this is a worrying fact for a team which will however get sharper in attack with the likely inclusion of Umar Gul.

In any other form of the game, it would have been safe to use a cliché that the momentum is with Warne's team. But in the times of change and keeping in mind the unpredictable nature of Twenty20, it's prudent to use another cliché that captains frequently use these days — It's 50:50.

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