Rain threat looms as Chargers have only to play for pride

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/g/gilchrist-win.jpg' class='caption'> Rain threat looms as Deccan Chargers look to play for pride when they take on Kings XI Punjab today in Mohali.

Updated: May 27, 2008 11:03 IST
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Rain threat looms as Deccan Chargers look to play for pride when they take on Kings XI Punjab, who sealed their berth in the semis of the IPL competition after the match between Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders was washed out on Friday.

Languishing at the bottom of the points table with just two wins from 11 matches so far, Chargers have lost hopes to make it to the semis, but they would be anxious to salvage a win.

However, by no means it is going to be an easy task as Chargers are up against a team, which will be playing on its home turf and has won eight of their 11 games so far and with its batsmen in terrific form and bowlers not willing to give anything away.

An area of concern at the moment is unseasonal rains in the northern region of the country, which have been caused by couple of weather systems active over the region.

The Meteorological Department at Chandigarh has forecast that moderate to heavy rains are likely to lash the region till Friday.

Punjab Cricket Association's curator Daljit Singh, who is also Chairman of BCCI's grounds and pitches committee, said they had been keeping the wickets covered for the past couple of days in view of the rains.

"If wickets are covered for long, it will result in moisture which will make the ball seam more. It will not be a good situation for the batsmen. But we are hoping that rains do not come down tomorrow atleast. We have three super soppers and other equipment to dry the ground, which should not be a problem, but only thing is that we should get some sunshine for a few hours," Daljit said.

Meanwhile, Punjab team led by Yuvraj Singh is a formidable batting side.

Former Australian batsmen Geoff Marsh's 24-year-old son Shaun Marsh has been a leading run getter for Punjab, producing a few match-winning knocks for his team like Wednesday's knock of 81.

Together with his Australian counterpart 23-year-old Luke Pomersbach, both the left-handers are emerging as a dangerous combination for the opponents.

Then there are the likes of Sri Lankan pair Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene and skipper Yuvraj Singh, who even though has not had a good run with the bat, is still capable of lauching the attack single-handedly.

Irfan Pathan, Sreesanth and VRV Singh also give teeth to the pace attack, with leg spinner Piyush Chawla adding the variety and Yuvraj, too, capable of chipping in with a couple of overs.

Chargers would be looking forward to a big innings from Adam Gilchrist and hoping that Shahid Afridi, who is yet to live up to his reputation.

It would be interesting how Rohit Sharma and Herschelle Gibbs treat the Punjab bowlers.

Chargers left-arm pace bowlers Nuwan Zoysa and RP Singh will need to give their best if they are to fancy their team's chances.

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