Fighting to stay in contention for a semi-final berth in the Indian Premier League, defending champions Deccan Chargers will find it tough to stretch their two-match winning streak when they take on second-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore in their adopted home ground here on Monday.
The Chargers are second from bottom, owing to a poor net run rate despite being tied on points with Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders.
Bangalore, on the other hand, sit behind table-toppers Mumbai Indians. They are tied on points with Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals but a better net run rate puts them above the two teams.
After suffering five back-to-back defeats, Deccan have fought back to stay in the hunt with wins over Bangalore and Chennai and they would hope to maintain the trend on Monday.
“Nothing has really changes for us. We just have to keep winning our remaining games,” said Deccan skipper Adam Gilchrist after the win over Chennai on Saturday.
Bangalore also suffered two consecutive defeats before putting it across Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday.
Bangalore and Deccan had clashed only a couple of days ago and Gilchrist’s men had come out trumps despite chasing a competitive 184.
Deccan’s strength is their explosive batting line-up but it has been inconsistent all through. They have performed well whenever they have got a flying start from Gilchrist, backed by the power-hitting of all-rounder Andrew Symonds.
Herschelle Gibbs didn’t click and had to be eventually dropped from the playing XI.
Their bowling has been ordinary but the arrival of Australian Ryan Harris has added some zing to the attack.
Harris, in fact, was man of the match in Deccan’s win over Chennai, picking up three wickets on Saturday.
Harmeet Singh has not done too badly but R P Singh, who was supposed to lead the pace attack, has been a complete let-down. He has failed to pick wickets and has been leaking runs in the tournament.
Bangalore have also been inconsistent but they can match Deccan’s batting with their own line-up of stars like Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, Robin Uthappa and their costliest buy till date Kevin Pietersen.
They have the edge in bowling with fiery pacer Dale Steyn and the experienced Kumble but if Gilchrist and Symonds strike the way they did the last time around, Deccan may survive to continue their fight.