The fortunes of the teams are changing like the weather in South Africa. Team Chennai, after looking like surefire winners in the first couple of games, are in a bit of a mess while Team Hyderabad, despite their poor performance last season, are going all guns blazing.
A defeat and a washout has left Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s boys with no option but to go for the kill on Monday. They know if they slip-up now, things can start going downhill very soon. But there are two obstacles in the way — the Durban weather and Team Hyderabad.
It has started to rain since Saturday evening and even Hyderabad’s practice session on Sunday morning was called off. Not that Hyderbad are bothered too much. They are on a high, winning three matches in a row, after which a relaxed Adam Gilchrist said in jest, “Now we have more points than what we had in the entire last tournament.”
Hyderabad have really looked a solid unit in the tournament so far, with all three departments complementing each other. If Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs have given them the starts they had been looking for, paceman Fidel Edwards and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha have led the two departments to perfection.
And for a team like Hyderabad, which has an abundance of talent, it’s just a matter of things falling into place and skipper Gilchrist is happy that’s exactly what is happening. Dhoni, though, for now is a worried man. Freddie Flintoff, his No. 1 allrounder has gone back owing to a knee-injury and the skipper has to rethink his strategies as he gets ready to take his troops out in Kingsmead.
Jacob Oram, who didn’t look too impressive in the first game, may get a look-in in place of Flintoff. But Dhoni is in a catch-22 situation on that count as well. He is not too sure whether he will field Oram, who is still not 100 % fit, or go in for somebody like Makhaya Ntini, who will run in full steam to bowl his four overs.
What is giving Dhoni headaches is the lack of quality death bowling. “We are getting killed at the death. It’s a question of bowling those yorkers time and again, and unless we do that, we will be in trouble,” Dhoni said. The skipper, though, can at least take heart from the fact that most of the batsmen have fired in the tournament.