They are the only ones to have lost all their five matches so far, the last one as recently as Sunday to the very team they are up against next.
In contrast, their opponents have found the groove again, winning back-to-back in differing conditions for that magic motivator called momentum.
Against Team Kolkata on a typically slow Eden Gardens track, where visitors have often been caught on the wrong foot by a dramatic change in the tenor of the contest, it would have been tempting to write off Team Hyderabad had it not been for the nature of the T20 beast.
This format has long surpassed expectations in its ability to encapsulate and enhance the game’s ‘glorious uncertainties’, and to an extent that has in a way rendered past and prediction both almost irrelevant. No event has been a better advertisement of this fickleness than IPL 5, where unexpected results have been the order of the day as the tournament approaches the half-way mark.
Hyderabad have no less chance to win on Tuesday than they did when the battles began at the beginning of this month.
Even as they languish at the bottom of the league ladder, the visitors will have found belief in the close finishes they were involved in, four of their five losses going to the final over of the match. In a format where it only takes one innings to make a difference, a top-order that has Kumar Sangakkara, Shikhar Dhawan, JP Duminy and Cameron White carries great potency while there are a few down the order who can give the ball a clobber.
Dale Steyn’s pace and swing can be a handful on any track while Amit Mishra has the wherewithal to trouble the best, particularly so in conditions that are likely to present themselves at Eden.
Team Kolkata are, of course, among the strongest teams on paper. If they haven’t fired the way most thought they would, it has had to do with faulty selection of the playing XI on occasion and an inability to find the correct response to situations. Gautam Gambhir & Co are still seeking a settled look about them, though they have the personnel to blow any opposition to pieces.
Their penchant for slow turners at home, which are very different in nature to the batting beauties at most other centres, have forced them into frequent reshuffles in order to meet the ‘horses for courses’ dictum. It has only led to more confusion on the selection front.
While skipper Gambhir and Jacques Kallis have come into their own, the continued batting failure of Yusuf Pathan, one of the core players, has put the think-tank in a dilemma. His unproductive presence in the order is putting the team under stress.