Deccan Chargers v Mumbai Indians, IPL, Centurion May 5, 2009

Early contenders look for reassuring win

Match facts

May 6, 2009
Start time 16.30 (14.30GMT)

Big Picture

Three points separate seven teams at around the half-way stage. So tight is the table that on Tuesday, Rajasthan Royals jumped from No. 7 to No. 2 with their win against Kings XI Punjab, only to be pushed back to third following Delhi Daredevils' victory over Kolkata Knight Riders later in the night. No one team can be convinced of making the semi-finals, which makes almost every game in these middle stages crucial. Especially when Deccan Chargers are playing Mumbai Indians, two teams that started off so well they were talked of as title contenders.

Deccan started their campaign with four straight wins, twice the number of matches they won last year, but three matches later they have a losing streak to overcome. Fidel Edwards has been a big loss for them, and they need to somehow get back to winning ways.

Mumbai have their own problems, not the least losing Zaheer Khan to a shoulder injury. They have won just one out of their last three games, and quite incredibly stand at No. 7. Tomorrow's game, though, is sure to change the top four in the points table. If Deccan win, they will rise to No. 2, if Mumbai win, they will enter the top four, displacing Deccan.

Form guide (completed matches, most recent first)

Deccan Chargers - LLLWW
Ryan Harris, Edwards' replacement, went for 39 runs in his four overs against Chennai Super Kings.

Mumbai Indians - LWLWL
Lasith Malinga hasn't opened the bowling in his last two games, and has gone for 47 runs in 7.1 overs - a big contrast to the 57 he had given away in 14.2 previous overs.

Watch out for

RP v Tendulkar and Jayasuriya: In Edwards' absence, RP Singh could well determine which way Deccan go from here on. He has achieved a personal target through this IPL, a return to the Indian squad for the World Twenty20, but now is the time for him to take his game a notch higher. His key men in the opening spell will be Sanath Jayasuriya and Sachin Tendulkar. RP got Jayasuriya out for 1 in the previous match, but he will know a lot of it was down to the pressure Edwards created.

Malinga v Gilchrist and Gibbs: The last time these two teams met, Malinga proved too hot, but the Deaccan openers found a way around him, managing 93 runs between them off 64 deliveries. Malinga bowled a double-wicket maiden, the last over of the innings, in his 4-1-19-3.

Team news

Deccan could try Chaminda Vaas ahead of Harris. And their other trouble has been the No. 3 batsman. VVS Laxman has scored 19 in five innings, Azhar Bilakhia hasn't been too impressive either.

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

Most of Mumbai's team discussion will revolve around finding a replacement for Zaheer, who fell badly on his shoulder, while fielding during the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Dhawal Kulkarni and left-arm medium-pacer Rahil Shaikh are the frontrunners.

Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane and Saurabh Tiwary have failed to set the world alight, but Mumbai will have to pick two of the three, unless they spring a complete surprise.

Mumbai: 1 Sanath Jayasuriya, 2 Sachin Tendulkar (capt.), 3 JP Duminy 4 Dwayne Bravo, 5 Abhishek Nayar, 6 and 7 Shikhar Dhawan/Saurabh Tiwary/Ajinkya Rahane , 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Pinal Shah (wk), 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Dhawal Kulkarni/Rahil Shaikh.

Stats and trivia

  • Gilchrist has scored 210 runs in the tournament, while his Mumbai counterpart, Tendulkar, has 209. Matthew Hayden holds the orange cap with 289.

Head-to-head

In their first game this season, Deccan won when Mumbai lost their way following the strategy time-out of their chase of 169.

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

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo