Their five-match losing streak finally snapped with a win over Royal Challengers Bangalore and a confident Deccan Chargers will look to dent Chennai Super Kings’ semifinal chances in their Indian Premier League match in Nagpur on Friday.
Deccan’s semifinal hopes were almost over after they lost six of their 10 matches. However, a seven-wicket victory over Bangalore last night boosted their morale and Adam Gilchrist’s men will look to win the rest of their four ties.
The last time the two teams clashed, Andrew Symonds had blown away Chennai by blasting a 43-ball 50 run and picking up two crucial wickets.
However, meting out the same treatment again will be far from easy considering Chennai’s recent form. They have beaten Bangalore, Rajasthan and table-toppers Mumbai Indians in the last three outings.
After a series of flops, Deccan’s middle-order have finally come to the fore on THursday night when T Suman (78) and Andrew Symonds (53) shared an unbeaten 91-run stand to overhaul RCB’s 184 with four balls to spare.
But the chargers’ opening combination has been a problem with Mohnish Mishra, Herschelle Gibbs proving failures so far and even Gilchrist not being in the best of form. Another cause of worry for them is Rohit Sharma’s inconsistency. He has scored 264 runs in last 10 matches with just one fifty.
In bowling, Pragyan Ojha has been the most consistent bowler for Deccan, picking up 15 wickets to lie at the top of the bowlers list in IPL III and although RP Singh has been in and out of the team, he has take nine wickets.
Symonds has also troubled the batsmen with his part-time bowling, picking up nine wickets so far.
Chennai, on the other hand, have five wins from 10 matches and are a contender for the final four. However, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side have suffered because of an inconsistent batting lineup.
Their opener Matthew Hayden has been scoring in patches and although M Vijay has shown what he is capable of with innings of 78 and 127, he was out cheaply in their last outing.
Middle-order batsman Suresh Raina and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni have got starts although a big score is still due from them. But Chennai will hope the inclusion of Australian Michael Hussey in the ranks will give the side an additional weapon and Dhoni will have to use him tactfully on Saturday.
In the bowling unit, Muttiah Muralitharan, who is third in the highest wicket-taker’s list, has been Chennai’s most reliable but expensive. In his absence in the last match, R Ashwin, Thilan Thusara and Shadab Jakati have done the job.
In the pace department, Doug Bollinger has lent the side a fierce look.