There’s many a slip between the cup and the lip. And nobody knows it better than perhaps Team Hyderabad skipper Kumar Sangakkara. The 2009 Indian Premier League champions are yet to open their account this season and they find themselves at the bottom of the points table after losing all their four matches.
The fact that at least three of these four matches were lost by Hyderabad in the last over makes it harder for the skipper as well as the players, who can, however, take heart from the fact that these results could have gone either way.
Hyderabad will be under pressure as they brace up for their next challenge against Team Kolkata here at the Barabati Stadium — third ‘home’ venue — on Sunday evening.
It won’t be easy either as Team Kolkata have regained momentum with a convincing eight-wicket win in Mohali in their last game.
Kolkata’s top-order looks rock-solid and remains their strong point and Sangakkara will look to his pace spearhead Dale Steyn to make early inroads into their line-up that had a formidable look about it. For Kolkata skipper Gautam Gambhir, the worrying part is a brittle middle-order. With Yusuf Pathan being hopelessly out of form and it remains to be seen whether Gambhir persists with the Baroda all-rounder.
Kolkata, however, is desperately missing a finisher. Manoj Tiwary and Debabrata Das have come up with attractive cameos, but have not been able to take the side home especially while chasing.
Their spinners have played a big role in all the matches so far with West Indian ‘mystery’ spinner Sunil Narine being the stand-out performer. He single-handedly ran through the Mohali line-up at the Eden Gardens, picking up a five-wicket haul and added two more victims in Mohali in the away match. He brings in the x-factor and Hyderabad batsmen will have their task cut out as they try to negotiate Narine’s clever variations.