Deccan seek to complete perfect weekend
May 17, 2009
Start time 12.30 (10.30 GMT, 1600 IST)
Kings XI Punjab have already made it through one make-or-break match successfully. To stay in the running for the semi-finals, they had to beat the No. 1 team, Delhi Daredevils, and they did. A day after that tense victory Punjab are faced with another must-win game, this time against Deccan Chargers. Punjab have 12 points and a negative net run-rate and are presently not among the top four teams with two games to play. The upshot of their off-colour campaign though, is that even if they win against Deccan, they will have another crucial game against Chennai Super Kings.
Deccan might be a weary lot when they take the field against Punjab because not even 24 hours have passed since their previous game. However, they will be buoyant after strengthening their chances of making the semi-finals by beating the winners of the wooden spoon, Kolkata Knight Riders, last night. That victory took them to 14 points, and with two games in hand, the clash against Punjab isn't of must-win importance. A defeat, however, will leave Deccan needing to win against Bangalore in order to qualify without depending on too many other results going their way.
Form guide (completed matches, most recent first)
Kings XI Punjab: WLWLL
Yuvraj Singh is among the season's top five run-scorers but he hasn't played an innings of brutal impact yet. He has two half-centuries, an average of 31.40, but his strike-rate of 122 is lower than his Twenty20 international strike-rate of 164.77. Brett Lee has had a significant impact since he joined the team, taking five wickets in three games at an average of 12.80 and economy of 5.33.
Deccan Chargers: WLWLW
After several indifferent performances, Adam Gilchrist made an aggressive and timely half-century against Delhi and he and Andrew Symonds, who has hit the ground running in South Africa, form the mainstay of Deccan's batting. Rohit Sharma, had been slightly disappoint with the bat till the game against Kolkata, where he scripted an incredible victory. He has also taken 11 wickets and bowled economically.
Watch out for
Lee v Symonds: Both players are recent additions to their teams after completing their national duties in the UAE. Lee has been a potent force with the new ball and has given the batsmen few boundary opportunities. He will be expected to tackle his Australian team-mate, Symonds, who has been taking advantage of the short boundaries in South Africa. Symonds averages 49.66 after four innings with a strike-rate of 165.55.
Mahela Jayawardene's hamstring injury is likely to keep him out of the game. His overseas replacement, Luke Pomersbach, has scored only 14 runs in two innings but is likely to keep his spot because Punjab have no other overseas batsmen available.
Kings XI Punjab: 1 Simon Katich, 2 Sunny Sohal, 3 Luke Pomersbach, 4 Yuvraj Singh (capt), 5 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 6 Irfan Pathan, 7 Brett Lee, 8 Piyush Chawla, 9 Ramesh Powar, 10 Wilkin Mota, 11 Sreesanth.
Herschelle Gibbs was not at his best, either in the field or with the bat, against Kolkata, and could make way for Dwayne Smith. Another player likely to find himself benched is Harmeet Singh, who had the less than impressive figures of 3.5-0-40-0.
Deccan Chargers: (probable) 1 Adam Gilchrist (capt & wk), 2 Herschelle Gibbs/Dwayne Smith, 3 T Suman, 4 Rohit Sharma, 5 Andrew Symonds, 6 Venugopal Rao, 7 D Ravi Teja, 8 Chaminda Vaas, 9 RP Singh, 10 Pragyan Ojha, 11 P Vijaykumar.
Stats and trivia
- Punjab have performed poorly during the Powerplays. They scored at only 7.25 runs per over at an average of 24.85 per wicket. Deccan have performed far better, with a run-rate of 8.08 during the first six overs.
- Symonds' average of 65.50 is the highest in the second season of the IPL. Jayawardene's 36 is the best average for Punjab.
- Gilchrist has hit the most sixes in this year's IPL - 23. Yuvraj's 15 is the most for Punjab.
The head-to-head record is 3-0 in Punjab's favour and all their victories against Deccan have come while chasing. Punjab won by three wickets off the penultimate ball in Kimberley in the first game against Deccan this season. In 2008, they won by seven wickets in Hyderabad and by six wickets in Mohali.
"Brett's important in attack. He's got that x-factor up front and he's a great finisher as well. He's performing and just his presence is important for the team."
Punjab coach Tom Moody is happy with the boost his team has received towards the latter stages of the tournament..
George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo