Deccan Chargers v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL 2012, Cuttack April 21, 2012

Crunch time for struggling Deccan

Match facts

Sunday, April 22, Cuttack
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

Deccan Chargers are in trouble, part of it their own doing. They should have won three of the four games they've lost in a row, but were let down by jittery nerves and poor death bowling combined with equally poor fielding - Kevin Pietersen was dropped three times on his way to a match-winning century in their previous game. Their coach Darren Lehmann was forced to say they'd fielded like an Under-14 side. In an otherwise open tournament thus far, Chargers are an exception and desperately need a revival at a different home venue. The Barabati Stadium in Cuttack has hosted two IPL games (in 2010), and the Chargers won both the high-scoring contests, albeit with a significantly different team.

Kolkata Knight Riders have had a mixed IPL so far but have won three of their last four. Though a strong batting unit, it has lacked consistency; their bowlers have fared much better. The race for the top four is likely to intensify in the coming days and Knight Riders, following a comprehensive win over Kings XI Punjab in their previous game, can be confident against their bottom-placed opponents whose chances are gradually slipping away.

Players to watch

Among the Knight Riders batsmen yet to deliver is Brendon McCullum, former captain, who has struggled to get going this IPL. A potentially ruthless opener who can swing games with his attacking strokeplay, Knight Riders have only managed to extract only 26 runs from him in the three games they've played him in.

Along with the team, under some pressure is Chargers' captain Kumar Sangakkara. Placed with the task of getting Chargers back in contention this IPL, he'll need to do his bit with the bat upfront.

Stats and trivia

  • Sangakkara is second on the list of IPL wicketkeepers with most dismissals in the league. He has 42 from 53 games, Adam Gilchrist tops the list with 50 from 65. Sangakkara, though, has the IPL record for most dismissals in an innings; he took five catches against Royal Challengers Bangalore last year.

  • Chargers took Rajasthan Royals' Amit Singh for 55 in four overs - the most expensive spell this IPL. But one of their own, Manpreet Gony, was smashed for 54, next in the list, in four overs, by Chennai Super Kings, his former team.

    Quotes

    "We will have to work on lot of things and perhaps the boys are not listening to what is being told to them. We have to plan different strategy, the dressing room atmosphere is quiet."
    Darren Lehmann had said this after the defeat to the Royals, and things wouldn't have changed much after the defeat to Delhi Daredevils

    "In the first two matches I thought I needed to go and bat at No. 3 and after that there was a need to open the innings. I will again go back to No. 3 if needed."Gautam Gambhir is open to changing his position in the batting order

    Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo

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