Hyderabad:Buoyant after registering their first win of the tournament, the Hyderabad Deccan Chargers will take on Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League with both the sides depleted due to the exit of their Australian imports.
The Chargers notched their first victory in the tournament against Mumbai Indians on April 27 after losing three consecutive matches against Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals.
Captain VVS Laxman would be under considerable pressure as the fans in his native city expect some fireworks from him. His highest score in the series so far has been 37.
The team will be at a disadvantage as Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds has left for home to join his team for a training camp ahead of the tour of the West Indies.
South African opener Herschelle Gibbs is likely to replace him.
In the absence of Symonds, retired Aussie star Adam Gilchrist, Laxman, Pakistani swashbuckler Shahid Afridi and Gibbs will shoulder the responsibility of making big scores for the team.
Gilchrist hit a scintillating century in the match against Mumbai Indians and the team banks heavily on him. Though Afridi is the highest wicket taker for the team so far, his batting has remained lackluster.
Afridi's highest score in the series has been 10 and will be expected to hit some lusty blows in Thursday's match.
The Kings XI Punjab, meanwhile, has won two of the four matches it has played so far and looks strong with Kumar Sangakkara, Yuvraj Singh, Simon Katich and James Hopes doing well with the bat.
Irfan Pathan is the highest wicket taker for the team but Brett Lee's departure will add to the pressure on Pathan and new-ball bowler S Sreesanth.
The pitch at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium is ideal for batting and the team chasing a target is expected to have an edge.
Deccan Chargers: VVS Laxman (Captain), Sanjay Bangar, Haldhar Das (wk), H Gibbs, Scott Styris, Adam Gilchrist (wk), Andrew Symonds, D Kalyan Krishna, Pragyan Ojha, D Ravi Teja, PM Sarvesh Kumar, Shahid Afridi, Rohit Sharma, RP Singh, Chamara Silva, Chaminda Vaas, Y Venugopal Rao, P Vijay Kumar, Arjun Yadav, Nuwan Zoysa.
Kings XI Punjab: Yuvraj Singh (Captain), Ajitesh Argal, Piyush Chawla, Pankaj Dharmani, Rishi Dhawan, Irfan Pathan, Nitin Saini, Vikram Singh, Tanmay Srivastava, Karan Goel, James Hopes, M Jayawardene, Simon Katich, Uday Kaul, Luke Pomersbach, Kumar Sangakkara, Sunny Sohal, Sahil Kukreja, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, Kyle Mills, Wilkin Mota, Ramesh Powar, Ramnaresh Sarwan and S Sreesanth.