Recovery time for struggling Deccan
Thursday, April 14
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
A revamped Deccan Chargers have had a tough time in this early phase of the tournament with two defeats in two games. They were beaten comfortably by Rajasthan Royals and fell short by nine runs chasing 163 against Kolkata Knight Riders. On each occasion their batting has let them down - while batting first in their opening game, they managed a modest 137 while pressure got to them in a tight chase against Kolkata. Their opponents, Royal Challengers Bangalore, began the competition on a promising note but are reeling from a humbling defeat at the hands of Mumbai Indians.
One team is desperate to clinch first points and ensure its campaign takes a turn for the better, the other is eager to prevent a slide after an encouraging beginning. Deccan need their foreign players, their captain Kumar Sangakkara, JP Duminy and big buy Daniel Christian to step up in the middle order, which has underachieved in each of their two games. The trio have got starts but the team has paid a price for their failure to push on.
For Bangalore, AB de Villiers and Tillakaratne Dilshan have kicked off well but the rest, particularly Virat Kohli, will aim for more runs. They lost Dirk Nannes early in the previous game and Mumbai Indians had no trouble chasing down 140; the rest of the bowling, including Zaheer Khan struggled, but against Deccan's struggling batting line-up they have a chance to make amends.
The end of the Australia-Bangladesh series means Cameron White will return to the Deccan Chargers squad but it is unlikely he will be part of the XI tomorrow. Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha bowled well in the previous game, but it'll be interesting to see if they leave one out to accommodate someone like Harmeet Singh, who has a wonderfully deceptive slower ball, to bring some variation into their bowling.
In the likely absence of Nannes, Bangalore might be prompted to rope in Nuwan Pradeep, the exciting fast-bowling prospect from Sri Lanka. Their lower order hasn't had a chance to bat, with Cheteshwar Pujara waiting for his turn at No. 7. Could he receive a promotion ahead of Asad Pathan?
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In the spotlight
Shikhar Dhawan is an attractive strokemaker and Deccan bank on him to control proceedings from one end. But too often he can be flashy or concede his wicket playing a rash shot. He got a start in Deccan's opening game, making 24 off 15, before throwing it away by holing out in the deep. He had an impressive opening IPL for Delhi in 2008, providing solidity at the top and Deccan would expect no less from him this time.
Virat Kohli has scores of 24 and 12 in his two games thus far. He looked at ease in Bangalore's opening game against Kochi Tuskers Kerala, striking some delightful fours before being trapped in front. Against Mumbai, he was kept quiet and eventually nicked one to the keeper. Along with AB, he forms the backbone of Bangalore's batting line-up; one has stepped up, Kohli yet has to.
- Pragyan Ojha is one of only two bowlers - the other being RP Singh - to pick up 50 wickets in the IPL. He's played 46 games, averaging 22.62 though has been expensive, conceding 7.19 an over.
- Kumar Sangakkara effected 11 dismissals as wicketkeeper in the IPL last year, in 13 matches, third after Adam Gilchrist and Dinesh Karthik.
"We need to bat smarter, make less mistakes."
Kumar Sangakkara sums it up
"I think this competition is about momentum. In such a short period of time between games, if you can get on that (winning momentum), it's going to make things a lot easier."
Daniel Vettori wants his side to to get on a roll
Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.