Ishant doubtful for win-or-go home clash

It is difficult for players not to get distracted by all the fracas surrounding the Indian Premier League over the last week. First came the spot-fixing controversy involving three Rajasthan Royals players, and now Sahara's decision to pull out its franchise, Pune Warriors, has put the future of the league in further doubt.

Still, there's a job to be done, and the SunRisers Hyderabad went about theirs with professionalism in the sweltering afternoon heat at the Modern School, Barakhamba Road.

Their opponents for Wednesday's Eliminator match, Rajasthan, didn't practice but Hyderabad did, presumably to get used to the different kind of heat in the Capital.

Ishant Sharma, one of the SunRisers' key bowlers, was nowhere to be seen and team officials said he was still down with fever, which was the reason he missed the final league game in Hyderabad against Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday.

Rajasthan are still reeling from the spot-fixing scandal, and regrouping his wards will be the latest and most difficult in a long line of challenges Rahul Dravid has faced this season. Galvanising a bunch of unknowns into a giantslaying outfit this season was one of his greatest achievements as captain, and now he needs to do it all over again if the Royals are to take another step towards the final.

The Ferozeshah Kotla could feel a bit alien to them, since they have played most of their best cricket on a Jaipur pitch that has afforded some seam movement which, coupled to the long boundaries, has made run-scoring a challenge.


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