Kolkata have few choices among overseas recruits against D-Chargers

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Kolkata, May 10 (UNI) With only two southern sides out of three, so far, bowing before the struggling Kolkata Knight Riders, Sourav Ganguly flies Hyderabad today to face Deccan Chargers in an away match tomorrow.

Rahul Dravid's Royal Challengers stood at the bottom of the table after being hammered by Kolkata Knight Riders in the opening match in Bangalore and a double beating on Thursday.

The focus now shifts to Hyderabad on whether VVS Laxman would be able to reverse the spell or just follow Dravid, who earlier admitted that the IPL has become a difficult task for him and his team.

Softspoken Laxman blamed Eden's pitch after his side bundled out for 110 runs in full 20 overs, paving the way for a comfortable five-wicket win for Kolkata.

Significantly, the three losses for the southern teams were the only winning six points for KKR, who see tomorrow as an opportune moment to come in the reckoning for the final battles in the eight-team championship.

After Thursday's defeat, Rahul Dravid admitted his side's difficulty to make good with six loses in eight matches. Hyderabad, also with same scoring points, which stood seventh by virtue of its better run rates, have indeed nothing to gain at this stage, unless ''the sky fell upon the first four teams''.

But, they have talent to undo the Kolkata team, who vie along side Mumbai with six points each from seven matches.

Kolkata's worry on having overseas cricketers seemed never-ending with the unavailability of controversial speedster Shoaib Akhtar, following a five-year-ban by Pakistan Cricket Board. His arrival here after PCB suspended the punshiment for a month on him to play in the IPL was not yet frutified for his fitness condition.

Departure of hardhitter Brendon McCullum, Ricky Ponting, injured West Indian captain Chris Gayle without donning colours, and finally out-of-form Brad Hodge almost emptied KKR's batting strength amomg the foreign recruits. Hodge, who made 12 runs in three matches, returned home to respond call from Australian Cricket Board in tour of West Indies.

Now onus fell on Australian David Hussey, who is only the overseas player in the KKR, constantly performing when situation needing and remaing top scorer with 206 runs.

What Salman Butt and Mohammad Hafeez can do for team are yet to be seen. Only Sourav Ganguly's figure surpassed 100-run figure with 116 runs in all matches he played among home and overseas recruits. Now Shah Rukh Khan's KKR will either have to bank on their own resources or find an opportunity and see if VVS Laxman repeats Dravid's feat.

UNI PC LL RAR KN1458

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