Chargers take on wounded Chennai
Match factsSaturday, April 7, Visakhapatnam
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Deccan Chargers open their campaign against defending champions Chennai Super Kings. In the absence of Kumar Sangakkara, that is going to be a tough challenge. Super Kings were a bit rusty when they played Mumbai Indians two days ago, especially in their batting, something that the Chargers think-thank would have made notes on. Apart from Suresh Raina, no other batsman allowed themselves time to settle in. Super Kings will be eager to score their first points tomorrow.
Chargers captain Cameron White has an experienced group of bowlers at his disposal. Amit Mishra and Dale Steyn led the wickets tally last year for the team. Steyn bowled with a lot of pace and was well supported by an equally menacing Ishant Sharma, who created problems with his bounce. However, with no Ishant this year, Steyn will need to guide someone like Manpreet Gony to raise his game.
Gony appeared to be in good form in the knockouts of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the domestic Twenty20 competition, in which he picked up eight wickets in three games. A tall man, he has the ability to extract bounce from any surface.
Super Kings' batsmen, however, have the ability to run in top gear throughout the innings and much will depend on how Steyn, and later Mishra, keep them under control.
Chargers will be boosted with Parthiv Patel coming in at the top of the order with Shikhar Dhawan, Chargers' top-scorer from last season. Super Kings create pressure with their spinners, and a lot will depend on how Chargers handle the spin menace. The trio of R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Shadab Jakati failed to make an impact against Mumbai Indians, and MS Dhoni would hope that last performance was a blip rather than a sign of things to come.
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Players to watch
Amit Mishra stands fourth on the leading wicket-takers list in the IPL with 61 victims, including a hat-trick last season. Although Steyn will lead the fast bowling, Chargers' fortunes will revolve around Mishra's spin.
The most expensive buy in this year's auction, Ravindra Jadeja, failed to make an impact with bat and ball in the first game. But the value that he brings to all aspects of cricket is something that Chargers are well aware of, after missing out on securing his services in a fiercely fought auction battle with Super Kings.
Chargers lost their only match against Super Kings last year, as they faltered in a tall chase.
Stats and trivia
- Super Kings' batting is powered by Suresh Raina - the leading run-scorer in IPL history with 1849 runs. However, their top wicket-taker - Albie Morkel with 56 scalps - is ninth on the table.
- Chargers have scored more than 200 runs in an innings only once in IPL history. Super Kings have crossed that barrier five times.
- Chargers and Super Kings have played eight games against each other and the head-to-head record is 4-4.
"We were rusty. I think boys showed glimpses of form and glimpses of the Chennai that you know. We were losing wickets at regular intervals. We just did not allow ourselves opportunity to get partnerships."
Stephen Fleming, Super Kings coach
"I would like to continue from where I left last season, during which I was the highest wicket-taker for the Chargers. I will push myself to doing better this time around. The challenge is to contain the runs, which leads to wickets."
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo