07 April, 2010
Rohit Sharma, the Deccan Chargers' middle-order batsman, believes that despite a five-match losing streak, his side are in with a chance to reach the semi-finals of the IPL.
"Yes, the boys are disappointed, but we are not down and out," Rohit told DNA in Bangalore, where Deccan plays their next match on Thursday. "No excuses for losing, but these things happen in Twenty20. We still have five games left. If we win even four of those, we can make it [to the semis], if our run-rate is healthy," Rohit said.
Rohit, whose selection to the Indian team for the World Twenty20 raised eyebrows, has justified his spot with a consistent run in the IPL, where he leads Deccan's run-charts with 258 runs. However, his performances have failed to inspire his team, which crashed to their sixth defeat of the tournament, against Rajasthan on Monday. Rohit was the last wicket to fall, caught in the outfield with three required from two balls, at the end of an abject collapse where seven wickets fell for 45 in six overs. "I don't want to prove anything to anyone. I don't want to take unnecessary pressure on myself. Whenever we have lost, we take it as the failure of the entire team. We don't blame or single out individuals when we lose a match," Rohit said.
While most IPL Teams play half their league games at home venues, political issues in Hyderabad have denied Deccan a homebase this year. Rohit singled this out as a major reason for their indifferent form. "That's the biggest disadvantage. We played Mumbai Indians at DY Patil [one of Deccan's designated 'home venues', in Mumbai] and not one spectator supported us. Sometimes the crowd factor plays a part. Your supporters give you that extra push in crunch matches," said Rohit.
The inability to stem the flow of runs in the end overs has been another problem area through the tournament, but Rohit acknowledged the marked improvement in the last game. "I know that's an issue. But on Monday, we gave away only 31 runs and picked up six wickets in the last five overs. Isn't that a positive," Rohit said.
Rohit praised his captain Adam Gilchrist for ensuring that his side did not get bogged down by failures. "He is a very supportive captain. He brings about a lot of positivity and tells us to forget about setbacks," Rohit said.
In the first IPL match in Jaipur this season, Kumar Sangakkara chose to bat, like most captains have been doing in the tournament. Kings XI Punjab are coming off an impressive win, but are against a Rajasthan Royals side that has a formidable record at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium.
Both teams made only one change to their line-ups: Australian batsman Adam Voges, who can chip in with some left-arm spin, takes the place of Morne Morkel in Rajasthan's XI because Shane Warne expects the track to assist the slower bowlers. Punjab have brought back temperamental fast bowler Sreesanth in place of left-arm quick Shalabh Srivastava. Rusty Theron retains his spot ahead of the out-of-form Brett Lee.
Rajasthan Royals: Naman Ojha (wk), Michael Lumb, Faiz Fazal, Shane Watson, Yusuf Pathan, Adam Voges, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Abhishek Raut, Shane Warne (capt), Aditya Dole, Siddharth TrivediKings XI Punjab: Mahela Jayawardene, Manvinder Bisla, Kumar Sangakkara (capt & wk), Yuvraj Singh, Ravi Bopara, Irfan Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Rusty Theron, Ramesh Powar, Sreesanth, Bipul Sharma