Darren Lehmann, the Deccan Chargers coach, has warned his defending champions that time is running out if they are to remain in contention for a place in the semi-finals. The Chargers crashed to their fifth loss in eight games against Mumbai Indians on Saturday. And they face the prospect of having to perhaps win five out of their next six matches to stand a chance of claiming a place in the top four, a task Lehmann conceded is a daunting one.
"We have to get our act together or else we are out of the tournament," the former Australia international said. "We are clicking at stages with the ball and on the field, but have to click together now. I hope they will respond quickly, otherwise it will be difficult to make it to the semi-final." The Chargers started well, recording three wins from their first four games, but they have lost four on the trot.
Lack of a home base has not helped - matches are not taking place in Hyderabad for security reasons - but Lehmann is hoping that Nagpur, which will be their third home venue of this season, will prove to be a happier hunting ground than Cuttack and Navi Mumbai when they take on Rajasthan Royals tonight. "We need to move on and hopefully Nagpur will prove lucky," said Lehmann. Rajasthan are also battling to keep their semi-final hopes alive, a fact not lost on Shane Warne, their captain.
"Winning against Deccan is crucial," said the leg-spinner, whose team have won four and lost five. "We do not want to get in to a scenario in which you lose one and then pushed to win all others for a semi-final berth. "Something we need to address is our fielding and bowling. We have three more matches coming at home." firstname.lastname@example.org Deccan Chargers v Rajasthan Royals, 6.30pm, CricOne