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Grim battle on cards

Nagpur: Placed in the bottom heap of the points table, the Rajasthan Royals and the Deccan Chargers will be fighting a desperate battle of survival when they take on each other in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here Monday.

With their semi-final hopes gradually fading, neither the Royals nor the Chargers can afford to lose from here on.

The Chargers have lost four matches on the trot and the downward spiral was incidentally triggered by the defeat against the Royals on March 26.

The Royals, on the other hand, were on a four-match winning streak before losing two successive games.

Shane Warne’s side, however, have been bolstered with Australian Shane Watson joining the team.

The all-rounder, who was the IPL’s most valuable player in the inaugural season, played out a blazing 60-run knock in his first match of the ongoing season.

Although for a losing cause, his batting against the Chennai Super Kings showed how much he added to Rajasthan side’s batting line-up. Wicket-keeper batsman Naman Ojha and the ever-dangerous Yusuf Pathan are the others on whom the side will depend. On the bowling front, the pacers — especially Shaun Tait — have come a cropper as was proved by the thrashing that the Super Kings handed out to them last night.

Skipper Warne hasn’t managed to bowl as well as he would have liked. The legendary spinner has taken just one wicket in four matches at an average of 90.

Led by Warne's former teammate Adam Gilchrist, the Chargers, on the other hand, have been undone by their batting, which has been relying too heavily on the skipper.

The dip in Gilchrist’s form is reflecting in the team’s performance as well and though Andrew Symonds, Herschelle Gibbs and Rohit Sharma are doing reasonably well, the Hyderabad outfit are failing to deliver.

The Charger’s bowling was never their strength and once the batsmen fail, they too fail to contain or dismiss the opponents.

Pacer RP Singh has been off-colour and old war-horse Chaminda Vaas is not the threat he used to be in his prime.

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