Even the proverbial red rag (the Kings XI Punjab jersey) failed to find the bull (Deccan Chargers) raging on Tuesday. The Hyderabad squad, on a freefall to disaster, seemed resigned to its fate of dredging the dregs in the big cup of woe that IPL-V has turned out to be.
With the play-offs now no more than a pipedream, the host can at best thwart Delhi Daredevils' bid to regain prime position when they lock horns at the Rajiv Gandhi international stadium here on Thursday. Whether the host has the guts for such a fight remains to be seen.
The rampaging Virender Sehwag would be the first barricade, his form no less than ominous. The home side can heave a sigh of relief that Kevin Pietersen has left this country's shores, the memory of the hiding it got from the Englishman set to haunt it surely for some time to come. The recent return of David Warner to the northern side wouldn't make matters much easier for the host either.
If Deccan Chargers has been in disarray, Daredevils presented a picture of poise on the eve of the contest. Not unduly upset at being upstaged by Kokata Knight Riders in the points tally, mentor T.A. Sekar said his squad packed the most pace, with three speedsters — Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron — breaking the 145 kmph barrier.
“We'll miss Pietersen, but David Warner is no less, their positions in the batting order being of little consequence,” said Sekar.
Cameron White's ‘collar-the-attack' capabilities, Shikhar Dhawan's ‘never-give-up' aggression and Dale Steyn's firepower, if combined effectively, can still make Chargers a force to reckon with.
But then too many ‘ifs' mar the record of a side, full of potential but short on performance.
If the recent past provides a pointer to the impending clash, Daredevils certainly look superior.
But as Sekar said, “T 20 can be a funny game. Any team can beat any team and no team can be taken lightly.”