Deccan's hunt for first win continues
Match factsThursday, April 26, Pune
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Deccan Chargers will arrive in Pune buoyed by the fact that they have finally got their first point of the tournament, courtesy the washout against Kolkata Knight Riders on Tuesday. A couple of wins, however improbable it may seem after five successive losses, is all that it takes to lift a team. Pune Warriors, on the other hand, have four wins and they have nicked points off strong units such as Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. Playing at their home ground, they wouldn't want to lose points to bottom-placed Chargers.
Warriors will be relieved to see Manish Pandey grab his chance at the top of the order and make some runs. With Jesse Ryder, Robin Uthappa and Steven Smith already in good form, their batting appears balanced. Bowling-wise, Alfonso Thomas is an automatic choice and that opens up the slot for the fourth foreign player. Luke Wright didn't get a chance with bat in the last game, so he might be persisted with.
For Chargers, the batting needs to come together fairly soon. Apart from Shikhar Dhawan, who has scored 208 runs, no one else has even managed 100 runs in the tournament yet. Kumar Sangakkara and JP Duminy are more than capable of scoring big. Cameron White has not looked comfortable this season, which means Daniel Christian could be back. Chargers' bowling has looked sharp whenever Dale Steyn has bowled, but there has been a lack of support at the other end. Batting and bowling problems aside, Chargers' coach Darren Lehmann will hope the fielders hold on to whatever comes their way.
Form guide(most recent first)
Pune Warriors: LWLLW
Deccan Chargers: NRLLLL (NR - no result)
Players to watchDale Steyn has fought a lone battle on the field for Chargers and picked up nine wickets at an average of 13.77. The quality of the opposition has always fired him up. What he needs is a bit of support from the other end.
Alfonso Thomas' figures in the two games that he has played stand at 6-0-36-3. These six overs have all been bowled at Delhi Daredevils' batsmen. Against a misfiring Chargers batting line-up, he could be potentially more dangerous than Steyn.
Stats and trivia
- The two teams have met twice before, and both times the team batting first has managed 136.
- For batsmen who have scored more than 1000 runs in IPL, Sourav Ganguly is the slowest, with a strike-rate of 108.43.
- Pune lost only two wickets in their defeat to Daredevils on Tuesday, the joint lowest number of wickets lost in a Twenty20 defeat (excluding shortened games).
Quotes"We are positive and the atmosphere is good enough for the team to make a winning comeback. We are very hopeful of making the last four."
Dale Steyn is not letting the despair set in
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo