Match factsDeccan v Bangalore, Nagpur
Monday, April 12
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Big PictureDeccan Chargers refuse to fade away. Just when you thought they were slipping away, they bounced back with a win. Just when you thought they were over-reliant on big names, T Suman led from front. Just when you thought they were really poor while bowling in the end overs, they produced a near-perfect end game against Chennai Super Kings.
The clarity over each player's role, so well defined during last year's winning campaign, is gradually coming to the fore. Andrew Symonds is the finisher, Rohit Sharma the engine of the batting, Suman provides the momentum and Monish Mishra the much-needed blast at the top.
Deccan will hope Adam Gilchrist fires in the upcoming pressure games. It isn't as if he has looked out of touch, but he has rarely converted any of his starts. The bowling, despite their good showing against Chennai, has not looked completely reliable.
Things won't be as easy against Royal Challengers Bangalore, as was the case with Chennai. Bangalore, too, were appearing to lose the plot after they lost four out of five games, but roared back with a commanding performance against Kolkata Knight Riders.
After Rahul Dravid joined the form men with a delightful fifty in that match, Bangalore's batting looks solid. The bowling has been iffy; they conceded 180-plus totals in the three consecutive games before improving against Kolkata, keeping them to 160. Despite that performance, the bowling will remain a headache and Deccan have the batting firepower, on their day, to take full toll.
If Bangalore win on Monday, they will move a step closer to qualifying for the semi-finals with 14 points and two games to play. Deccan are currently placed seventh, and are in a tougher situation with a poor net run-rate of -0.539. If they win, though, they will be level on points with three other teams and climb, depending upon the margin of victory, at least two places up.
Form guide (most recent first)Bangalore Royal Challengers WLLWL
Deccan Chargers WWLLL
Team talkWho will partner Jacques Kallis in the opening slot? Sridharan Sriram, who can slip in couple of overs, or will Bangalore return to Manish Pandey?
Deccan seem a settled unit, finally, on the batting front, but the bowling remains a problem area. It says a lot about RP Singh's skills on flat tracks when Symonds looks a much better option to complete the quota of four overs. The bright spot for Deccan in their bowling has been Ryan Harris, who, chosen over Chaminda Vaas, was the Man of the Match in the last game.
PreviouslyDeccan 3, Bangalore 2
In the previous game between the teams, Suman played a responsible hand to steer Deccan to a seven-wicket win at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
In the spotlightAnil Kumble has been a treat to watch. The two-fingered googlies have worked like a charm and he has shown mastery in varying his pace. He has never been shy to take on the toughest batsmen and continues to be Bangalore's best bowler.
Andrew Symonds may not have been at his brutal best, be but he is playing his role to perfection. In the last few games, he has showcased his great skill of knowing exactly when to play the big shot and has backed his instincts.
- With 61 fours, Jacques Kallis is way ahead of Andrew Symonds (27 fours), the nearest competitor from the opposition. With 21 sixes, Robin Uthappa has six more than Adam Gilchrist, the man with the most sixes for Deccan.
- Uthappa's 179.74 is the best strike-rate among those who have scored 200 or more in this IPL.
- Both Vinay Kumar (4 for 40) and Anil Kumble (3 for 9) feature in the list of the top five bowling figures in an innings. There is no one from Deccan in the top ten..
The chatter"We're still in the mix now. We are improving our performances though I wouldn't say we are at our best. If we can secure some wins by not playing at our best, it's a good sign."
Adam Gilchrist, after the win against Chennai
"The balance and depth of our side can be judged by the fact that someone like Kevin Pietersen has to sit out. But that's how it is. You can only play four foreigners and rightly so. This is the Indian Premier League.
Rahul Dravid speaks his mind
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo