Deccan, Rajasthan look to regain momentum
Match factsMay 11, 2009
Start time 16.30 (14.30 GMT, 20.15 IST)
The race for a spot in the semi-finals heats up with only one team effectively out of contention. Defeats for Deccan Chargers and Rajasthan Royals in their previous games did not push them below the top four, nor - unless Deccan lose by a mammoth margin - should a loss for either team today. But one of them will be left vulnerable at fourth place, and are likely to lose the spot tomorrow if the contest between Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians (currently placed fifth and sixth respectively) yields an outright result. A win for Deccan will take them to No. 3, pushing down Rajasthan, who'll be hoping to preserve their current standing, especially as they will have played at least a game more than the rest.
Deccan were the dominant team in the competition's early stages, but since their run of four consecutive wins they've experienced a serious slide with four defeats in their last five games. They emerged second-best in a thrilling encounter against Punjab in their previous match, letting it slip in the final stages after holding the cards for a good part of the game. Rajasthan were beaten convincingly by Chennai Super Kings, a blow to the three-match winning streak that ended a disappointing start to the tournament. Regaining the lost momentum remains the objective for both teams, who've experienced highly differing win-loss trajectories, as the league stage enters its last leg.
Form guide (completed matches, most recent first)Deccan - LWLLL
Deccan were again let down by Herschelle Gibbs, taking his tally to just 22 runs in his last five innings. Adam Glichrist's performances too have failed expectations, squandering promising starts and not being at his fluent best. His scores read 8, 39, 0, 25, 20 in his last five appearances.
Rajasthan - LWWWL
Rajasthan failed to build on solid starts in their last game. Three of their top four notched up scores of above 25, but each fell while trying to accelerate. Their middle order, which had helped them recover during problems at the top in the earlier stages, struggled against Chennai with Yusuf Pathan, Lee Carseldine and Abhishek Raut making just 23 runs between them.
Watch out forAndrew Symonds: A brutal 36-ball 60 marked an excellent debut for Symonds in the IPL's second season, but his services as a part-time spinner lasted just one over where he smacked for 20. He revived his team from a weak position at 73 for 4, and his assuring presence in the middle order is a huge asset, especially given the inconsistency at the top.
TeamsDeccan have a problem with their foreign recruits. Medium pacer Ryan Harris has gone wicketless in his three games, and conceded 8.45 runs an over. With Fidel Edwards gone, Deccan might be tempted to give Chaminda Vaas his first game of the competition. Their patience with Gibbs is being tested with five consecutive failures, and the likelihood of Scott Styris or Dwayne Smith receiving a call remains strong.
Deccan (probable): 1 Adam Gilchrist (capt/wk), 2 T Suman, 3 Rohit Sharma, 4 Andrew Symonds, 5 Y Venugopal Rao, 6 Scott Styris/Dwayne Smith, 7 D Ravi Teja, 8 Pragyan Ojha, 9 Shoaib Ahmed, 10 RP Singh, 11 Chaminda Vaas.
Amit Singh has been reported for a suspect action for the second time this season, but with the law allowing him to continue playing until proven of an illegal action, Rajasthan may just persist with him. If not, Munaf Patel is a possible replacement. Shane Harwood was taken for 25 in two overs against Chennai, and with local boy Tyron Henderson having played just one game, Rajasthan do have the option of giving him a go.
Rajasthan (probable): 1 Graeme Smith, 2 Naman Ojha (wk), 3 Swapnil Asnodkar, 4 Ravindra Jadeja, 5 Yusuf Pathan, 6 Lee Carseldine, 7 Tyron Henderson/ Shane Harwood, 8 Abhishek Raut, 9 Shane Warne (capt), 10 Siddharth Trivedi, 11 Amit Singh/Munaf Patel.
Stats and trivia
None of the Rajasthan batsmen feature in the top ten run-getters in this tournament. Yusuf Pathan, their highest run-scorer with 210 in nine games, is at No.15, but has the second-best strike rate among them of 147.88.
Herschelle Gibbs has made 204 runs this IPL, but only 22 in his last five, including three ducks.
The 95-run stand between Andrew Symonds and Venugopal Rao against Punjab is the highest for the fifth wicket this IPL.
Rajasthan enjoy a 3-0 advantage. Important contributions from Carseldine, Shane Warne, Abhishek Raut and Yusuf helped Rajasthan scale down a target of 142 against Deccan in Port Elizabeth. Last year, Smith and Yusuf helped Rajasthan overcome a brutal century from Symonds to chase 214 off the penultimate ball in Hyderabad. The second game in Jaipur was a mauling, as the same duo scripted an eight-wicket win.
Siddhartha Talya is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo