Chance for Mumbai to iron out flaws
Saturday, May 14, Mumbai
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
It's not quite a case of top versus bottom, but its close enough. Mumbai Indians have been table-toppers for most of this IPL season while Deccan Chargers are the basement dwellers, and were the first to be knocked out of contention for the play-offs. Expectations of a mismatch are not unfounded and it will take a particularly poor performance from Mumbai or a supreme effort from Deccan for an upset to take place.
Both situations have become reality once before in this edition of the tournament. Mumbai were bundled out for 87 to lose by 76 runs to Kings XI Punjab and Deccan were able to defend 129 against Kochi Tuskers Kerala. Nonetheless performances like these have been rare for either side and the difference in their form is as stark as this fact - Deccan have won as many matches as Mumbai have lost: three.
More victories will do nothing for their cause but Deccan will want to go out having fought as much as they can. They will need their batting to improve significantly to achieve that. Their highest run-scorer is Kumar Sangakkara with 306 runs, and they don't have a single batsman with an average over 28. It's time for the likes of JP Duminy, Shikhar Dhawan and Bharat Chipli to step up. Against the dangerous Mumbai attack, which boasts Lasith Malinga, Munaf Patel and Harbhajan Singh, that will be a tough task.
Mumbai have batting worries of their own, seeming to have problems with chasing targets. They will be expecting more from Kieron Pollard, who has been nothing more than a gentle giant. Even so, Ambati Rayudu's continued and promising form will be pleasing and Mumbai will hope that with Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma, he can carry the line-up. The Deccan bowlers, while not as menacing as Mumbai's, have put in a decent performance throughout the tournament, with Dale Steyn and Ishant Sharma leading the attack.
Form guide (most recent first)
Mumbai LWWWL (second in table)
Deccan LLLLW (tenth in table)
It's unlikely that Mumbai will fiddle with their combination too much after the success they have enjoyed this season. The only area of concern may be at the top, but with Davy Jacobs still nursing an injured thumb, Aiden Blizzard will probably keep his place.
Deccan have the luxury of being able to experiment and may want to bring Cameron White back in as he is one of the names being mentioned as a possible captain when Sangakkara leaves. Daniel Christian has failed to impress and may get the chop.
Predict the playing XIs for this match. Play ESPNcricinfo Team Selector.
In the spotlight
Ambati Rayudu is only nine runs behind Sachin Tendulkar on the run-getters' chart and has shown his desire to stay at the crease for as long as possible. His 59 off 39 balls against Delhi was his most convincing knock and he will want to prove his worth marshalling the middle order, especially after being ignored by the selectors for the West Indies tour.
Pragyan Ojha was a purple cap holder in previous editions of the tournament and has 57 IPL wickets. He has only taken seven this season, but his hunger has not lessened. He enjoys a big stage and the match against Mumbai may just prove the occasion for him to excel.
- Mumbai's best scoring batsmen have been Tendulkar, Rayudu and Rohit Sharma. Andrew Symonds, who has scored the fourth-most number of runs for Mumbai, 127, is 160 runs behind Rohit
- Deccan have bowled out their opposition only once in 11 matches, but all three of their wins have come defending totals
"We don't mind losing from time to time. But the manner in which we lost the last game to King's XI was disappointing. I think that has motivated the team. They are very keen to get that right and play better tomorrow."
Mumbai's bowling coach Shaun Pollock says his team's collapse against Punjab has a positive side too
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent