Deccan Chargers v Mumbai Indians, IPL, Durban April 24, 2009

Battle of the heavyweights

Match facts

April 25, 2009
Start time 12.30pm (10.30GMT)

Big Picture

Deccan Chargers, last year's winners of the wooden spoon, are the form team this season and lead the league after two matches. Their opponents at Kingsmead, however, are likely to present a tougher challenge than did Kolkata Knight Riders and Bangalore Royal Challengers.

Despite a star-studded batting line-up Deccan were last season's whipping boys and the reasons for a disappointing performance were their batsmen failing to fire collectively and a weak bowling attack. Their two victories in the tournament so far have been set up by at least two top-order batsmen performing in the same innings. The purchase of Fidel Edwards and RP Singh's ability to swing the new ball has boosted their bowling attack as well.

Mumbai beat the formidable Chennai Super Kings in the opening game of the IPL but their second match, against Rajasthan Royals, was washed out in Durban, leaving them with three points after two games. They possess one of the most complete bowling attacks in the tournament - Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga backed up by Harbhajan Singh and Dwayne Bravo. Their batting line-up - Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya, JP Duminy, Dwayne Bravo and Abhishek Nayar - will present Edwards and Co with their sternest Test yet.

Form guide

Mumbai: One match isn't much to go by but it appeared as though Tendulkar plans to play the anchoring role while the other batsmen played around him. He constructed a match-winning 59 not out against Chennai while Nayar provided the thrust towards the end by hitting Andrew Flintoff for three sixes in an over. Lasith Malinga was struggling with injury problems last season, bowled a crucial spell of 3 for 18, while his Sri Lankan team-mate Jayasuriya chipped in with 2 for 34 after a cameo with the bat.

Deccan: The batting has revolved around Adam Gilchrist, Herschelle Gibbs and Rohit Sharma so far. Gilchrist may have retired from international cricket but some of his leg-side sixes against Bangalore brought back memories of the assault against Sri Lanka in the 2007 World Cup final. Sharma and Gibbs have shown chemistry on the field, where they compete and feed off each other's success, and they've been able to contribute with the bat as well. The key bowlers for Deccan have been their new-ball operators: Edwards hustles the batsmen with pace and bounce while RP's found the swing that made him a threat during the World Twenty20 in South Africa. They've been backed up superbly by Pragyan Ohja, who's becoming adept at luring batsmen out of the crease and having them stumped.

Watch out for

Rohit v Harbhajan: Rohit's scored 88 runs off 62 balls in two games without being dismissed. He's thrived during the middle overs and scored 53 off 37 balls against the spinners. He clobbered Anil Kumble for three sixes in an over and will look to dominate Harbhajan in the same way.

Team news

Deccan have won two out of two games and have no reason to change a winning combination.

Deccan: 1 Adam Gilchrist (capt/wk), 2 Herschelle Gibbs, 3 VVS Laxman, 4 Rohit Sharma, 5 Scott Styris, 6 Venugopal Rao, 7 Ravi Teja, 8 Harmeet Singh, 9 Pragyan Ojha, 10 RP Singh, 11 Fidel Edwards.

Mumbai's team also has a settled look to it but the one change they could make is to replace medium-pacer Rohan Raje with Dhawal Kulkarni.

Mumbai: 1 Sanath Jayasuriya, 2 Sachin Tendulkar (capt), 3 Shikhar Dhawan, 4 JP Duminy, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Abhishek Nayar, 7 Harbhajan Singh, 8 Zaheer Khan, 9 Pinal Shah (wk), 10 Dhawal Kulkarni/Rohan Raje, 11 Lasith Malinga.

Head-to-head record

Mumbai were ambushed by Gilchrist in their first match in 2008. Gilchrist smashed 109 off 47 balls to set up Deccan's ten-wicket victory. However, Deccan's top-order collapsed in the second match against Mumbai, slipping to a 25-run defeat in Hyderabad.


"The whole approach has been positive, we have made some changes in the support staff and they have injected lot of enthusiasm and encouraged the players to enjoy there games. Players have responded well so far but its still so early in the tournament. All we can ask players is to hop in and commit and so far we have done that."
Adam Gilchrist pinpoints the change in Deccan since a dismal first season.

George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo