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Royals sweat on Warne fitness

Posted by on April 30, 2011 0 Comment

Shane Warne remains and injury concern for the Rajasthan Royals ahead of Sunday’s Indian Premier League encounter against the Pune Warriors.

Warne sprained a knee while fielding during Friday’s clash against the Mumbai Indians, which the hosts won by seven wickets for their second consecutive victory in this year’s edition of the Twenty20 tournament.

While spinners Johan Botha and Ashok Menaria were the chief destroyers in Mumbai’s collapse to 94 all out – their lowest ever total in the IPL – leg-spinner Warne was key in removing danger man Rohit Sharma with some superb flight and lure.

The veteran Australian is the 2011 event’s second-best wicket-taker with 10 scalps – behind Mumbai start Lasith Malinga’s 17 – and his exclusion from the weekend’s match against Pune would be detrimental to Rajasthan’s quest for resurgence through the 10-team standings, but the belligerent skipper was hopeful of lining up for Rajasthan come Sunday.

“The knee is a little bit sore. I went for a dive and twisted it. I’ve had a couple of operations on it, so it’s hurting a bit. Hopefully I’ll be fit for Sunday’s game by keeping it under a lot of ice packs,” he said.

The Royals got their campaign off to a flier with opening wins over the Deccan Chargers and Delhi, then slumped to three defeats on the trot at the hands of Kolkata (twice) and the Kings XI Punjab and later endured a washout in Bangalore. However, they’ve since risen to third on the log thanks to back-to-back triumphs over Kochi and Mumbai.

Warne is looking forward to more of the triumphant same against the struggling Warriors, who head Sunday’s outing in Jaipur in the wake of five losses on the trot.

“Yes, it’s all very good to win a few games up front. But on the way, you are going to lose a few as well. So, if you can peak at the right time, you can have that momentum coming in at the crucial stage of the tournament,” added Warne.

“That’s the time to start winning a few on the trot. Obviously, you don’t want to win every game you play, but it’s good to get the losses out of the way. We just need to keep up the intensity and keep performing like we did against Mumbai.

Meanwhile, visiting skipper Yuvraj Singh hinted at changes to the Pune starting XI for the showdown with Warne’s men.

The new franchise has predominantly stuck to a core of 15 players for their seven outings thus far in rotating their tried and tested, with youngsters like Kamran Khan and Harpeet Singh brought into the starting XI on the odd occasion. Just two wins from seven matches, however, demands near wholesale changes in personnel.

“We are providing opportunities to young players. Kamran and Harpreet have had a chance recently. We are definitely going to provide opportunities to others and hopefully they can win matches for us,” insisted Yuvraj.

“It is tough. We have lost five games in a row. We are playing well individually ,but the team is not able to. The whole team needs to contribute.” Cricket365

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