Battle of the bats in the offing
Match factsThursday, April 22
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Big PictureAll the headlines over the past couple of weeks have been dealing with the off-field shenanigans of administrators and franchise owners, but in the same period Deccan Chargers have, almost without notice, knitted together five wins to finish the league, against all odds, in second spot. The middle-order trio of T Suman, Rohit Sharma and Andrew Symonds has been crucial to the turnaround, made all the more remarkable as it came on the back of five consecutive morale-sapping defeats. After the final-over choke against Rajasthan Royals, they have shown much more composure in similar situations thereafter to pull off some crucial victories. Deccan have also overcome the disadvantage of having no real home games, or the comfort of a partisan crowd backing them.
Deccan's bowling isn't their strongest suit, though, and they are up against one of the strongest batting outfits in the tournament, Chennai Super Kings. While it was expected that Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni would plaster the bowling, the surprise package has been the form of M Vijay at the top of the order. Add to that the solidity of S Badrinath, the threatening presence of Matthew Hayden, and the hitting of Albie Morkel and Justin Kemp and the scale of the challenge facing Adam Gilchrist's bowlers becomes evident. One thing the Deccan coach, Darren Lehmann, will remind his team of is the inconsistency of their opponents who have alternated between victory and defeat in their past five matches. Like Deccan, Chennai's bowling attack is also not among the more potent ones in the tournament, which means there could be a run-fest at the DY Patil when the two sides face off.
Form guide (most recent first)Deccan Chargers WWWWW
Chennai Super Kings WLWLW
Team talkChennai's overseas players haven't been as influential as the foreign recruits in most of the other teams. Doug Bollinger is one who has consistently delivered, but Dhoni will mostly have to pick the out-of-form Matthew Hayden and Albie Morkel. Justin Kemp could also be needed to give the side options, especially with all the Indian fast bowlers struggling.
Chennai: (probable) Matthew Hayden, M Vijay, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (capt & wk), S Badrinath, Albie Morkel, Justin Kemp, R Ashwin, Doug Bollinger, Shadab Jakati, L Balaji/Sudeep Tyagi
Deccan have to ponder whether to retain Chaminda Vaas or to bring back Ryan Harris, both of whom have performed well in the tournament. Mitchell Marsh hasn't had too much of an impact in the last few matches, which means Dwayne Smith could be brought back.
Deccan: (probable) Adam Gilchrist (capt & wk), Mohnish Mishra, T Suman, Andrew Symonds, Rohit Sharma, Mitchell Marsh/Dwayne Smith, Ryan Harris/Chaminda Vaas, RP Singh, Rahul Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Harmeet Singh
Previously…Deccan 4 Chennai 2
Deccan have won both matches between the sides this IPL with ease: They piled on 190 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium to cruise to a 31-run victory, before trumping by six wickets in Nagpur.
In the spotlightAdam Gilchrist has had a forgettable tournament so far, but he's one of the game's great big-match players. Last season, he stopped the in-form Delhi Daredevils in the semi-finals with a breathtaking onslaught on their spearhead, Dirk Nannes. Can he repeat that performance again?
Chennai's fast bowlers Bollinger has rapidly won over the Chennai crowd with his enthusiasm and tight bowling. He has had little support from the other quicks, though, with Albie and the quartet of Indian medium-pacers all proving expensive.
MS Dhoni flopped when he pushed himself to No. 3 against Delhi but in the game against Kings XI Punjab, he showed off the massive hitting that made him popular during his early days in international cricket. How he and Raina perform will have a big impact of the sort of total Chennai will get.
Prime numbers and trivia
- Deccan (39) and Chennai (32) have conceded the most sixes in the league phase while bowling at the death (last six overs)
- Tyagi has had a horror tournament - an average of 159 combined with an economy rate of 10.04. That economy rate though is better than several competitors to the local fast-bowling slot, like Manpreet Gony and Joginder Sharma
- The match features the three highest run-getters in the IPL: Raina, Gilchrist and Rohit
Chatter"T20 is a lottery, but we couldn't use that excuse anymore, so we planned every tiny aspect of the game right from what kind of shots to play after losing a wicket to how wide or slow to bowl to a batsman in the slog overs."
Deccan coach Darren Lehmann says the team's turnaround is no fluke
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo