Match facts

Thursday, April 8
Start time 2000 (1430GMT)

Big Picture

In the league phase comprising 56 games, the eight teams have had their chances to rectify declines, build on successful runs, reassess failing strategies and work out winning combinations. But time is running out for some, especially Deccan Chargers, for another defeat, their sixth in a row, could all but end their hopes of reaching the semi-final. They are currently seventh, and will remain there if they lose on Thursday to Royal Challengers Bangalore. Given their poor net run-rate, and the rush for a knockout berth among at least three other better-placed teams, their prospects remain bleak.

Bangalore, currently ranked fourth, are strong contenders but have experienced a blip, losing three of their last four games. A win against Deccan, added to their superior net run-rate, will propel them to second place and distance them further from Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings, who, too, are competing for a spot in the final four. A loss will only make that scrap more intense.

Ross Taylor's arrival prompted a few changes in the Bangalore line-up - they left out Dale Steyn and Manish Pandey for their previous game, a strategy they might reconsider, given the margin of defeat against Delhi Daredevils. Aiming to recover from the recent downturn, Bangalore will want to have their best available team to surge forward with four games to play after Thursday.

Deccan were on the verge of arresting their losing streak before panic set in against Rajasthan in the final over of the chase, costing them the game by two runs. None among their last seven batsmen reached double-figures, and another capitulation is something they can ill-afford in troubled times.

Form guide (most recent first)

Royal Challengers Bangalore: LWLLW
Deccan Chargers: LLLLL

Team talk

Cameron White may have to make way for Steyn, while Abhimanyu Mithun could step out for Pandey.

Deccan have problems in the middle order, with meager contributions from the Indian players. Monish Mishra, Venugopal Rao, Anirudh Singh and Azhar Bilakhia have, largely, failed and there is little that Deccan, apart from shuffling them around, can do. If Herschelle Gibbs is called back, Deccan may have to leave out an all-round option in Dwayne Smith.

Head to head

Bangalore 3 Deccan 2
It's the 40th match of the IPL but the two teams haven't met yet this season. In the inaugural edition, Bangalore sneaked home by three wickets at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, and won more comfortably in Hyderabad.

The teams shared honours in the league stages in South Africa, Deccan winning by 24 runs in Cape Town and Bangalore, thanks to Pandey's century, by 12 runs in Centurion. Deccan, however, had the last laugh, beating Bangalore in the final by 6 runs at the Wanderers.

In the spotlight

Ross Taylor: In his 10-ball stay against Delhi, Taylor showed how valuable he is to the Bangalore outfit. He blazed three sixes to race to 22, and was one batsman who threatened to scale down Delhi's strong total before being trapped in front. His power-packed strokeplay, and the ability to clear the boundary with ease, can be especially dispiriting to his opponents in the death overs.

Adam Gilchrist: With just one half-century in nine games, and an average of 23.22, Gilchrist has confined himself to attractive cameos - five out of nine times has he scored above 20 - but failed to press on. With a struggling middle order, Deccan need a greater boost at the top and no one is better equipped to do that than their captain.

Prime Numbers

  • Deccan's run-rate in the last five overs this IPL has been the least among all teams. They have scored at 7.74 an over - Bangalore are second-highest with 10.38 - and have lost 28 wickets at an average of 11.75, the joint-lowest.

  • Deccan have struck one six more than Bangalore so far - 48 to 47. Chennai lead the pack with 68, followed by Rajasthan at 66.

Quotes

"I think we could say that all of us in our team had a couple of glimpses of fantastic performances and probably too many glimpses of disappointing performances."
Adam Gilchrist on his team's inconsistency.

"We played Mumbai Indians at DY Patil [one of Deccan's designated 'home venues', in Mumbai] and not one spectator supported us. Sometimes the crowd factor plays a part. Your supporters give you that extra push in crunch matches."
Rohit Sharma rues the lack of support for Deccan.

Siddhartha Talya is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo