Teams scrap for first points
Monday, April 11
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Both batting line-ups faltered in their opening games; Deccan Chargers never got going, and Kolkata Knight Riders choked. Kolkata definitely have more class and power in their batting, but until Brett Lee and Shakib Al Hasan return from national duty, their bowling looks thin. In their absence though, Kolkata's bowling held up decently against Chennai Super Kings, but it was the star-studded batting line-up that failed to get them home in a modest chase, blowing away a winning position.
Deccan have a world-class bowling attack, but it was given too few runs to defend by a misfiring batting unit. They tried hard, but Pragyan Ojha had an off day. Their bowling relies on Dale Steyn for making maximum impact, and the way he was played out by Rajasthan Royals after they had conceded two wickets to him, could be one approach teams would look to use against Deccan. The rest of the bowlers will be targeted, but there is no reason why they cannot step up, given their pedigree.
Gambhir said that he had come lower down the order against Chennai in order to hold the line-up together, as Jacques Kallis had got off to a good start. The move of sending Yusuf Pathan at No. 3 and demoting himself to No. 6 did not work, and Kolkata would look at rejigging the order.
In the spotlight
Gautam Gambhir has acquired a reputation for some brain fades of late, getting run-out, stumped and bowled after a blind charge in the three World Cup knockout games. He followed that up with another run-out in the IPL opener. He has been in fine touch otherwise, but will have to stay in the middle long enough to make the runs. And would also need to bat at his natural position, in the top order.
Rajasthan targeted Pragyan Ojha who went for 44 in 23 deliveries, blunting a bowling performance that had otherwise been largely on target in defending a small total. Ojha, the top wicket-taker in the previous IPL, will have to complement Steyn's efforts with the ball.
- Kolkata's 67 against Mumbai Indians in 2008 is the second-lowest total in the IPL
- The longest losing streak in the IPL is eight matches by Kolkata in 2009
"These things happen. If they did not happen, we wouldn't call cricket an unpredictable game."
Gautam Gambhir is not too worried over his run-outs
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo