Delhi look to take wind out of Deccan sails
April 30, 2009
Start time 12.30pm (10.30GMT, 16.00 IST)
Supersport Park in Centurion plays host to the clash of the two best teams in the tournament - Deccan Chargers and Delhi Daredevils - in the first of Thursday's double-header. Deccan, with a 100 per cent record this season, are unrecognisable from the side that propped up the table in 2008. Herschelle Gibbs and Adam Gilchrist have fired at the top and there have been no batting collapses. The bowling has also looked more potent, thanks in no small way to Fidel Edwards, who will play at least one more game before heading to England to join his West Indies team-mates.
Delhi look the most likely team to upset Deccan's momentum. They were on a winning streak of their own but were upset by Rajasthan Royals and an incredible 83-run stand between Graeme Smith and Yusuf Pathan. That defeat was an eye-opener to several cracks; the fielding wasn't upto the mark and Daniel Vettori had a rare bad day at work. They will want to bounce back with a statement in this battle of the heavy weights.
Delhi: Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have failed to fire, individually and in partnership. Sehwag has a highest score of 38 and Gambhir 16. Sehwag's shot selection needs to improve but surely it's only a matter of time before he finds his feet.
Deccan Chargers: Gibbs, with 183 runs, is pushing Matthew Hayden (215) for the orange cap for the highest scorer and should claim it on Thursday. RP Singh and Lasith Malinga are tied on nine wickets and Pragyan Ojha is just behind at eight. So Deccan have a chance to keep the orange and purple caps.
Watch out for
Gibbs v de Villiers: There has been very little to separate this pair who have used the home advantage to the fullest. de Villiers has 176 runs, just seven behind Gibbs. The most striking similarity, apart from their electric fielding, is the power of their on-side shots.
For Delhi, Glenn McGrath is yet to get a game. Paul Collingwood has also been a passenger and he doesn't have much time left before heading back to England for the Tests. But Delhi will have to rest either Tillakaratne Dilshan or AB de Villiers and it's a tough choice considering their splendid form.
Delhi: (probable) 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Virender Sehwag (capt), 3 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Mithun Manhas, 6 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Daniel Vettori, 8 Dirk Nannes, 9 Pradeep Sangwan, 10 Amit Mishra, 11 Ashish Nehra.
Deccan may not want to upset their winning combination.
Deccan: (probable) 1 Adam Gilchrist (capt/wk), 2 Herschelle Gibbs, 3 Dwayne Smith, 4 Rohit Sharma, 5 VVS Laxman, 6 Venugopal Rao, 7 Azharuddin Bilakhia, 8 Pragyan Ojha, 9 Shoaib Ahmed, 10 RP Singh, 11 Fidel Edwards.
Deccan were steamrolled at home by nine wickets as Sehwag bludgeoned an unbeaten 94 in chasing a target of 143. It was a much closer affair at the Feroz Shah Kotla where Deccan fell short by 12 runs chasing 195. Mishra signed off the victory in style with a hat-trick.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo