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Whipping boys eye a double against Chennai

Hyderabad can bounce back with a reprisal against the visitors. A team seemingly down and out for the count can, as if magically, bounce back with a vengeance, writes Arjun Sen.
Hindustan Times | By Arjun Sen, Hyderabad
UPDATED ON MAY 27, 2008 12:37 AM IST

Sports is wonderfully uncertain, gloriously capricious.

A team seemingly down and out for the count can, as if magically, bounce back with a vengeance. History and the formbook often amount to precious little, with the underdogs confounding all to claim a victory, which looked definitely improbable and maybe even impossible.

With that in mind then, maybe it would be unwise and unbecoming to rule out a comeback from Hyderabad in their last IPL match against Chennai on Tuesday. Right?

Well, maybe not.

There has been nothing unpredictable or surprising about this team's performance. Almost all their matches have followed a script, one in which Adam Gilchrist and his boys have ended up on the losing side, and their chances of rewriting that against Chennai seem remote.

It has been 20 days since Hyderabad last won a match, and, judging by the way they have been playing, the wait for their next win could have to wait till the next season comes along.

Their opponents in complete disarray, MS Dhoni's Chennai would strongly fancy their chances of winning on the morrow and cement their place in the last four.

It has been a bittersweet tournament for Chennai, while they scorched to the summit with four wins on the trot, the Aussie exodus midway dealt the team a debilitating blow. It took Dhoni some time, and three back-to-back defeats, before finally managing to strike a winning combination.

In their last match, Chennai were as good as through into the final four against Bangalore, when an inexplicable collective brain freeze from their batsmen saw them snatch defeat.

However, all is not lost. Chennai can still make it to the semis with a win on Tuesday, and could not have possibly asked for better opponents. Hyderabad, the last team in the competition, have worn the mantle of whipping boys for a while now, and, in all probability, will prove to be easy meat for Chennai.

But then again, it would have been a similar feeling going into the match against Bangalore, and we all know how that one turned out. So, while a win looks like there for the taking, Dhoni's boys still have to get the job done.

Hyderabad did get the better of them the last time these teams met and though a double looks far-fetched, stranger things have known to happen in sport.

After all, the hosts have nothing to lose, except another match, that is.

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