Can Deccan breach the Chennai fortress?
Match factsSunday, May 1 Chennai
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
They win one and they lose one but Deccan have slowly picked themselves off the bottom and are beginning to inch up in the points table. They were almost a two-man bowling attack, with only Dale Steyn and Amit Mishra contributing in the first half of the tournament, but suddenly, from nowhere, Ishant Sharma announced himself in some style in their last game. Admittedly, the pitch was helpful but Deccan will hope he will rouse himself to greater deeds from here on.
As far as their batting is concerned, Deccan have depended heavily on Kumar Sangakkara. Their domestic batsmen have failed, their big signings like Cameron White, Daniel Christian and JP Duminy haven't quite managed to live up to their billing yet. So, it's no surprise that they haven't been consistent so far.
Deccan's opponents Chennai Super Kings have lost three games but it took some exceptional performances, and iffy conditions, to beat them. Paul Valthaty dropped his cloak of anonymity one day, Harbhajan Singh picked his maidenTwenty20 five-for on another day, and rain played a big part in the game they lost to Kochi. They have won all their home games and won their first away game in the last encounter against Pune. They return to Chennai where their spin-heavy attack can be expected to test Deccan's batting.
Form guide (most recent first)Deccan: WLWLW (sixth in points table)
Chennai: WWLLW (fifth in points table)
Will Deccan Chargers opt for the off-colour Pragyan Ojha at Chepauk? Ojha, who was a star performer in previous IPL editions, has been looted for runs but they might be tempted to give him a go on Sunday. Surely, now, JP Duminy, or even Michael Lumb, will be given a go in place of Cameron White?
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In the spotlight
S Badrinath has been one of the most classically pure batsmen in this IPL. Everything seems to have fallen in place for him this IPL season; he hasn't been dismissed in his last three games and has harvested runs in some style. Interestingly, he will face Dale Steyn, the man who made him look like a novice in his last Test match. The ball cut in, swung out, reared at the throat, and Badrinath struggled; his critics have used that failure to fuel their arguments. Will there be a mini-redemption for him on Sunday?
India loves their quick bowlers because there haven't been many in their history. And so when Ishant Sharma harassed Ricky Ponting in a furious spell at Perth, they thought they had found a new hero. However, Ishant slowly lost his mojo and with it his place in the national team. He sparkled on a pitch that had something for the seamers against Kochi. Will it be the start of his journey back to the highest level or was it just a one-off?
- Kumar Sangakkara and Badrinath are the top scorers for their respective sides and both have made 235 runs. Chennai have two other batsman who have tallied more than 200 but Deccan's second highest run-tally is 144 (Bharat Chipli).
- Doug Bollinger is the only bowler from either of these teams who has an economy rate of under 6 an over (5.93)
The chatter"Our captain [Sangakkara] is playing beautifully at the moment, Sunny Sohal has done well, [Bharat] Chipli has also done quite well. Mishra's been outstanding, probably one of the best bowlers in the competition. Everyone's beating everyone out there. No one's really slipping away at the top of the table. If we win tomorrow it will be our fourth win and we'll be pretty close to those top four positions."
Cameron White is hoping that his team can get more consistent
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo