Kochi's chance to capitalise on Deccan's weaknesses
Match factsWednesday, April 27, Kochi
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
With a bowling attack that seems to be currently operating with just two men and a batting line-up that has collectively made two half-centuries in six games, it's no surprise that Deccan Chargers find themselves in last position in the table. Apart from Amit Mishra and Dale Steyn, the rest of the bowlers have struggled to attack as well as contain. Ishant Sharma and Pragyan Ojha have together conceded 254 runs for four wickets, and big signing Daniel Christian has been taken for more than nine an over.
Their leading run-getter Kumar Sangakkara has had several starts but a top score of 49, Christian has been almost as disappointing with the bat as he has been with the ball, and JP Duminy hasn't got going. The fact that Deccan lack a top-class Indian batsman was always going to test them; their domestic batsmen Shikhar Dhawan, Bharat Chipli and Sunny Sohal haven't inspired the same confidence as a member of the national side would have.
Deccan's opponents on Wednesday, Kochi Tuskers Kerala, return to their base for the first of two home games after having their three-match winning streak halted by Shane Warne on a tricky Jaipur pitch with unpredictable bounce. They should find the Nehru Stadium surface more to their liking and would want to capitalise against a misfiring Deccan outfit.
Form guide (most recent first)Kochi: LWWWL (seventh in points table)
Deccan: LWLWL (tenth/last in points table)
Kochi have some decisions to make since Brendon McCullum is expected to recover from his shoulder injury in time for the Deccan game. Both Thisara Perera and Muttiah Muralitharan played against Rajasthan Royals as McCullum missed out. Now there will be place for only one of the duo. Raiphi Gomez has done little with the bat, and his seven overs have leaked 78 runs. With Kedar Jadhav being wasted down the order, Kochi could look at giving Sreesanth or Ramesh Powar a game in place of Gomez.
Harmeet Singh didn't do too badly in his only game of this IPL, against Delhi Daredevils, and Deccan could consider bringing him in for Ojha. Duminy or Michael Lumb should replace the woefully out-of-form Cameron White. Deccan also continue to bench Rusty Theron, persisting with Christian.
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In the spotlight
They are close friends on the field and off it. One handed the national captaincy to the other and became his deputy. When the other resigned after the World Cup, the now-deputy followed suit. Sri Lankan cricket in the new millennium has been synonymous with Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, two of the best batsmen and sharpest brains in the game. Contrasting personalities - one flamboyant and articulate, one polished and perceptive - they are proud competitors, and their face-off as opposing captains could be an interesting battle of wits. They might even sit down together and dissect the game over a drink after it's done.
- Amit Mishra and RP Singh are the only bowlers from the two sides to have conceded less than seven an over this season (min. two games). Mishra is also Deccan's highest wicket-taker, with eight from six matches
- Ravindra Jadeja has the best strike-rate this season among the two teams: 151.40, which is also the sixth-best in the tournament (min. 100 runs)
The chatter"I guess he is our enemy tomorrow."
Finally, Mahela Jayawardene finds himself and Kumar Sangakkara on opposing sides
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo