Victory had been just shaking-hands distance away at this very venue. Deccan Chargers was in command, having set a stiff target of 215.

With 17 needed off the last over, Pankaj Singh squeezed three runs from the first two deliveries and handed over strike to his skipper. A boundary and two successive sixes by Shane Warne saw him pull off the impossible, with a ball to spare. The legendary leggie then shepherded his side to triumph in that opening season of the DLF-IPL.

Saturday's face-off at the Rajiv Gandhi international stadium between the champs of seasons I and II, shouldn't be short of the fireworks which marked the 2008 cliff-hanger. Only that the casts have undergone changes, as the host beefs up its bowling attack with the induction of Dale Steyn, the world's best in the high-velocity business.

Without heightening the hype though, Chargers' coach Darren Lehman seemed optimistic. “It's good to play on home ground and we hope to see a lot of crowd support. The pitch looks good with bounce and carry and the youngsters are raring to go,” he said.

Vice-captain Cameron White will join the squad in a week.

Sitting alongside Lehman, Amit Mishra said it would be healthy competition with Pragyan Ojha in the quest for the purple cap. “I'm looking forward to meeting Shane Warne and learning from him,” said the wrist spinner, who was not affected by a foot strain that saw him head for the pavilion during the training session.

On the eve of the contest, the venue was bathed in blue of the midnight hue, eleventh hour works afoot, including bamboo-lined interiors. Security personnel swarmed the place, backed by sniffer dogs and bomb detection devices. Escorting the Chargers' bus was a convoy of four police vehicles, the first with a shrieking siren. The Royals squad was slated to have its practice in the evening.

If the recent run of World Cup form of its players be a pointer, the scales seem tipped in favour of the Chargers who should break the jinx for a long overdue win on its home turf.

Both sides failed to announce the team list at the time of going to press.

Keywords: IPL-IV

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