Deccan Chargers need to quickly rediscover their momentum against table toppers Mumbai Indians in the teams’ second leg clash of the Indian Premier League on Saturday. With six wins from their first seven games and a current winning streak of four, Mumbai are a couple of games clear at the top of the table. Mumbai have been unstoppable and have emerged as the single strongest side thus far, whereas Deccan has had to face some harsh realities of life, lying almost at the bottom of the pile.
Venue and Conditions:
The Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai is the colonial setting for the second meeting of the Mumbai Indians and the Deccan Chargers this week. No team batting first has yet come close to matching the 212-6 Mumbai reached in the first of the five IPL 2010 matches played here so far.
The Indian Host:
Led from the front by the evergreen Little Master, the Indians have won every game save the one blemish against the Royal Challengers of Bangalore, and a very strongly positioned to be the first team to qualify for the semis
There hasn’t been any over-aggressive big hitting from the little man; mere deft touches and field piercings have done the job for him, and that too with a very healthy strike rate of 140. Local players like Saurabh Tiwary, Ambati Rayudu and Shikhar Dhawan have also done a great job playing around him. West Indian allrounder duo Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo complete a most formidable batting lineup and though they have not yet really come to the party, it is only a matter of time before the dangerous duo explodes.
Lasith Malinga, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan feature very high in the list of top wicket-takers, and with very impressive economy rates as well. Ryan McLaren, Bravo and Pollard are very much capable of bowling 8 good overs between them, which puts the captain in good stead if one of the prime bowlers is having an off day.
The fact that Mumbai have made just the one change in the last 4 matches, that too forced by an injury to Rayudu, and that they have won all 4 means that a very settled looking outfit will take the field against the Deccan Chargers, as also in most matches henceforth
The Charger Visitors:
Deccan, meanwhile, have lost three matches in a row and slipped to second-bottom of the table. It won’t be easy to pick themselves up from the floor after this losing sequence, besides the physical exertion of traveling from Kolkata to Mumbai today after finishing their match past 11 pm last night.
Their strength has to be their explosive batting, but the big boys Adam Gilchrist, Herschelle Gibbs and Andrew Symonds haven’t exactly set the stage of fire. This trio failure to fire in unison at the top has resulted in extra burden falling on Rohit Sharma in the middle. Despite their best efforts the Chargers have fallen short in their last three ties.
Rohit Sharma, who has booked himself a flight to the West Indies for the World T20 needs to put in a few match winning knocks as well, else his place in the national side is under threat. Besides, Deccan themselves desperately need the young man, who was the under-23 success of the tournament last season, to fire if they are to come close to last season’s finish.
bowling has been hit massively by the poor form of spearhead RP Singh, who was instrumental in their great run last season, ending up with the Purple Cap. RP was rumoured to have been left out of the last game due to a shoulder injury, though most pundits suspect it was more likely that the young left-armer was forcibly benched due to his horrible economy rate of 9.6. His replacement Harmeet Singh hardly inspired confidence though, and it wouldn’t surprise us if RP makes a hasty return.
Ojha and Andrew Symonds have proved to be very useful operators in the middle overs, and have a big bagful of wickets to show for it. Jaskaran Singh has also taken 6 in his 5 games, but an economy in excess of 9 is inexcusable in this unforgiving format. The old warhorse Chaminda Vaas was brilliant before Roach subbed him, even wearing the Purple Cap at the start of the campaign. Surely Vaas must come back into the side.
Sachin Tendulkar: Such has been the form of the genius that half the country has been in mourning due to his abstinence from turning out in national colours, although he still plays for the ‘Indians’ thanks to the radical choice of name by the franchise.
Gilchrist: It is amazing how his individual performance mirrors so accurately his team’s, no matter which side he is representing. He is the highest run-getter in all IPL games, and his personal form was instrumental in last year’s win. He has to lead from the front, and what better stage than the city that witnessed his breathtaking hundred two summers ago.
Best: Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist, Rohit Sharma
Struggling: R P Singh, V V S Laxman
Best: Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga
Struggling: Sanath Jayasuriya (3 matches)
Mumbai Indians (WWWWL)
MI v KXIP – won by 4 wickets
DC v MI – won by 41 runs
MI v CSK – won by 5 wickets
MI v KKR – won by 7 wickets
MI v RCB – lost by 7 wickets
Deccan Chargers (LLLWW)
KKR v DC – lost by 24 runs
DC v MI – lost by 41 runs
RR v DC – lost by 8 wickets
DC v DD – won by 10 runs
DC v KXIP – won by 6 runs
Last year, Mumbai lost on both counts in fairly close encounters, while in the inaugural season the spoils were shared 1-1, and Deccan’s win featured the fastest IPL century at that point in time.
The previous encounter between the two teams was taken away from the Chargers by Harbhajan Singh who first smashed his way to 49 not out in 18 balls to give Mumbai a fighting score to defend and then dismissed Gilchrist for a blob off the second ball of their innings.
The Brabourne Stadium was the venue for Yusuf Pathan’s brutal century three weeks ago and the highest score in three of the five games played here so far has exceeded 68.5 runs. In one of the other two, Jacques Kallis was poised on 66* when his team won.
In the only T20 International ever played at the Brabourne Stadium, India beat Australia by seven wickets. Adam Gilchrist opened for the Aussies and made a five-ball 12. Harbhajan Singh finished with the highly economical figures of 4-0-17-1, bowling ML Hayden for 17.
Deccan were hammered last time a few days ago by the same side, though Mumbai had got the runs from an unreliable quarter. Yet, Mumbai are simply too strong, and now play in what is their proper home at the Brabourne Stadium, as against that namesake away game at the DY Patil. Expect Sachin’s boys to come out trumps.