Deccan Chargers v Pune Warriors, IPL 2011, Hyderabad May 9, 2011

Also-rans clash in low-key match

Match facts

Tuesday, May 10, Hyderabad
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)

Big Picture

Both these teams know that they are all-but-mathematically eliminated from the race for the play-offs. That makes the task of motivating the teams even harder for two captains who haven't had the best of times in the IPL, Yuvraj Singh and Kumar Sangakkara. The two were team-mates during the first three seasons at Kings XI Punjab, a team which floundered in 2010 and the dismal form has continued for them this season as well.

One area that Deccan Chargers will definitely need to lift is their fielding. Both of the defeats over the past week came after the a series of fielding lapses allowed the Man of the Match to turn in a game-changing performance. Yusuf Pathan was reprieved three times as he launched a late onslaught to power Kolkata Knight Riders to a tall score, and Virender Sehwag's masterpiece had several slices of luck as well.

What Pune Warriors will have to be wary about is Deccan's new-ball attack. Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma are forming a potent combination, and will pose a big threat to the Pune top-order. Deccan's back-up bowling hasn't been as threatening though, and if Pune are a touch cautious early on, they could capitalise when the weaker links come into the attack.

Form guide (most recent first)

Pune: WLLLL (eighth in points table)
Deccan: LLLWL (ninth in points table)

Team talk

Deccan's trouble has been that their overseas players have done moderately well, but not well enough to win matches. They could consider giving Michael Lumb a game to give them the impetus at the start, in place of either JP Duminy or Dan Christian.

Pune made plenty of changes in their previous match to finally end their losing streak. If Sourav Ganguly is deemed match fit, he is likely to slot in at the top of the order, perhaps taking the place of Jesse Ryder. That frees up an overseas slot for Jerome Taylor to return, perhaps in place of Shrikant Wagh.

Predict the playing XIs for this match. Play ESPNcricinfo Team Selector.

In the spotlight

Pune bet big on Robin Uthappa but the returns have been modest so far. He is now being used higher up the order, giving him more time to make an impact. He has shown flashes of brilliance, clearing the boundary with ease on occasion, though the finishing skills for which he was bought has seldom been on display.

Ishant Sharma has had several outstanding matches this season, with the highlight being his dismantling of Kochi's top order. He was spot-on in Deccan's previous match against Delhi as well, and Tuesday's encounter will be his last chance to convince the national selectors he deserves a spot in the one-day squad for the West Indies tour.

Prime numbers

  • Alfonso Thomas has the third-highest number of wickets in T20s, behind Dirk Nannes and Albie Morkel
  • With 104 sixes, Cameron White is 11th on the list of batsmen with the most Twenty20 sixes
  • Kumar Sangakkara has an abysmal captaincy record in IPLs, winning only six of the 23 matches he has led in

The chatter

"When I look at my team, I can't imagine how we lost so many games with that talent. We just haven't clicked."
Yuvraj Singh on Pune's poor run in IPL 2011

"If you don't hold on to the chances that you create, especially when that is wicket you need, it is tough to win the game."
Kumar Sangakkara admits the reprieves Deccan Chargers have offered key opposition batsmen in previous encounters cost them dearly

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo