IPL-5 is wide open, Hussey, Dravid say their teams have fair chance to make it to playoff stage

Kings XI Punjab have bounced back to the 5th spot in IPL-5 and stand-in captain David Hussey is confident of making the grade. “Of course, we are confident. We would not be in the competition if we were not confident of making it to the finals. We are 5th now and have a couple of big games coming up. If Mandeep (Singh) and (Parvinder) Awana keep playing well, and the others chip in too, we are in with a chance,” said Hussey, according to a report in The Times Of India.

Speaking on Tuesday’s game, Hussey said: “I thought our batters set the tone. Mandeep is going from strength to strength and is a quality player. I think he's a future player in all three forms for India,” he said.

On Gilchrist’s return, he said: “He is really excited about getting back to the side. He is doing pretty well and we will welcome him back into the team with open arms.”

Meanwhile, Delhi Daredevils would look to reclaim the top spot when they take on a floundering Deccan Chargers in their Indian Premier League clash, here tomorrow. Daredevils had surrendered the top spot to Kolkata Knight Riders when they lost the home match by six wickets.

According to a report in The Indian Express, with 16 points from 11 matches, they are placed second and have virtually sealed a play-off berth, while Chargers are out of reckoning with just five points from 12 matches. “A win tomorrow would serve the visitors well as they face tough rivals ahead in Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings, who are desperate to come out of mid-table logjam and be in play-off contention,” says the report.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, while two teams — Deccan Chargers and Pune Warriors India — have been eliminated from the playoffs, the Kolkata Knight Riders have virtually sealed a top-four finish.

“While the Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians are close on the heels of the KKR, four others — Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings — can be optimistic of making the cut. That means six teams are vying for the three remaining slots. No wonder then that despite the already long tournament becoming longer this year, there is every reason for the fans to remain glued to television sets over the next two weeks,” says the report.

“I don't think we have reached that stage of the tournament yet where the net run rate needs will emerge as a huge factor,” Rajasthan Royals skipper Rahul Dravid said after his team's emphatic victory against the Warriors on Tuesday. “The tournament is still wide open.”