No false steps with semis at stake
Match factsMay 21, 2009
Start time 16.30 local, (14:30 GMT)
What could have been a potential quarter-final clash will perhaps be of less importance now that Kings XI Punjab's defeat against Chennai Super Kings has made things easier for the other Southern Indian teams. Bangalore and Deccan both have a better run-rate than Punjab and should join last year's semi-finalists Delhi and Chennai in the knock-out phase unless one of them loses badly today.
The turnaround for the bottom-placed teams from last season has been remarkable. Today's game provides the sides an opportunity to lock in their playing XI ahead of the semi-finals. While the foreign players in the Bangalore squad have been crucial to the team's successes, it is the Indian contingent, barring Anil Kumble, that needs to stand up and be counted. Praveen Kumar's performance during the win in the last match against Delhi Daredevils is just the inspiration that the domestic players need.
Two successive last-ball finishes may have fatigued Deccan but expect no sympathy as they face their southern compatriots. Adam Gilchrist, who like Kumble, has handled the captaincy with aplomb, will not want to let the slightest chance go abegging. Deccan will look to avoid meeting top-of-the-table Delhi in the semis, having lost on both occasions this season.
Form guide (completed matches, most recent first)
Bangalore Royal Challengers: WWWLL
The opening partnership continues to haunt coach Ray Jennings. With Jesse Ryder not having made the most of his opportunities and Robin Uthappa proving a failure at the top, time and options may well be running out for Bangalore if they are to keep their three-match winning streak going.
Deccan Chargers: LWLWL
Expect Adam Gilchrist to be back in top gear after a minor blip and along with fellow-Australian Andrew Symonds, provide stability to the side. Rohit Sharma will look to continue his good form, and pile on the runs after flawless cameos against Kolkata and Punjab.
Watch out for
Anil Kumble v Rohit Sharma/Adam Gilchrist: The wily Kumble has been shouldering most of the bowling for Bangalore and will no doubt look forward to matching his craft and guile against two of the most destructive batsmen in the IPL. Gilchrist gave in to temptation last time and was undone by Ramesh Powar; he will need to be on his guard if Deccan are to get off to a flier this time.
Expect a new opening combination as Bangalore look to iron out the glitches ahead of the knockout phase, with the in-form Ross Taylor likely to assist Kallis, and Uthappa featuring lower down. Vinay Kumar may be back, replacing Manish Pandey, as they look to add more bite to their bowling.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: (probable) 1 Ross Taylor, 2 Jacques Kallis, 3 Rahul Dravid, 4 Robin Uthappa, 5 Virat Kohli, 6 Mark Boucher (wk), 7 Roelof van der Merwe, 8 B Akhil, 9 Praveen Kumar, 10 R Vinay Kumar, 11 Anil Kumble (capt).
Deccan would want to give their best XI a dummy run before the next few matches. Dwayne Smith may again be rested with Gibbs given another chance for a long overdue big score. Picking Chaminda Vaas ahead of Ryan Harris may give them the extra batting option. Harmeet Singh may take Jaskaran Singh's place from the last match.
Deccan: (probable) 1 Adam Gilchrist (capt & wk), 2 Herschelle Gibbs, 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 Jaskaran Singh/Harmeet Singh.
Stats and trivia
- With 24 sixes, Gilchrist has cleared the boundary the most times this IPL
- Not a statistic to be proud of: Bangalore jointly hold the record for the heaviest defeat (in terms of runs) with Kolkata - the 92-run defeat came against Chennai in Port Elizabeth
- RP Singh, the holder of the purple cap with 19 wickets, has the chance to break free of his nearest competitor, Delhi's Ashish Nehra (18)
Head-to-head recordGilchrist and Rohit's power-hitting ensured Deccan romped to a 24-run win earlier this season, in Cape Town. Bangalore won both their matches last year: the first one a thriller by three runs, and the next comfortably by five wickets.
Judhajit Basu is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo