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    Yusuf smashes KKR to win in practice match

    Hyderabad: A quick-fire half-century by all-rounder Yusuf Pathan helped Kolkata Knight Riders defeat Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) by five wickets in a practice match ahead of the IPL franchisee's Champions League qualifying engagements.

    KKR chased a target of 131 runs in 15.2 overs with Pathan, who hit four sixes and three fours, smashing 53 in 38 balls.

    Delhi all-rounder Rajat Bhatia too made a useful contribution, scoring 41 off just 29 balls with the help of six fours.

    Among the Hyderabad bowlers, CV Milind scalped three wickets, while Sarvajit took two.

    Earlier, electing to bat first, HCA made 130 for loss of six wickets in 20 overs. Neeraj Bist top-scored for the team with a whirlwind knock of 51 runs in just 30 balls.

    For the Knight Riders, Pawan Negi claimed three wickets, while L Balaji and Jaidev Unadkat scalped two and one wicket respectively.

    The qualifiers of the Champions T20 League will begin on September 19 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad, with KKR clashing with Auckland Aces.

    KKR will lock horns with Somerset on September 21 in their second and last qualifying match.

    Earlier, the team's preparations suffered a blow when it was announced that their injured skipper Gautam Gambhir would miss the Champions T20 League qualifiers and his availability for the main tournament, if the team makes it, would depend on his regaining the complete fitness.

    South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis will be leading KKR in Gautam's absence, a release from KKR said Tuesday.

    Gambhir had suffered a concussion when he hurt his head while attempting a catch during the England-India Test series.

    Following the injury, Gambhir missed the ongoing five- match ODI series in England.

    "Gautam has been consulting a leading neurologist in New Delhi since returning from England. While the doctor has been happy with the progress Gautam has made, he has been advised to start physical training gradually to attain match fitness."

    "His view is that September 19th is too early for him to effect a full recovery," the release from KKR said.

    KKR's CEO, Venky Mysore, said the decision to play was completely left to the player and his doctors and hoped Gambhir would make a quick return to the game.

    KKR's coach, Dav Whatmore, was also supportive of the player's decision and said that the team's support staff would do their best to help and hasten Gambhir's recovery.