IPL: Indian Premier League 2009

Deccan revival spurs race for semi-finals


Match facts
Deccan v Chennai, Nagpur
Saturday, April 10
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)

Big Picture
The rules of the game have changed a bit since Deccan Chargers beat Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday night. Had Deccan rolled over and died in the big chase then, this match wouldn’t be between Deccan and Chennai Super Kings. This rather would have been one part of the tussle between Chennai, Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals.

Now, though, not only have Deccan thrown their hat in, Bangalore too are not so sure of their progress. Instead of a three-way tussle for the last spot, it has become a five-way epic for the last two slots. This heightened scenario of permutations and combinations will of course stand all but squashed if Chennai beat Deccan in Nagpur, where the latter choked so spectacularly against Rajasthan.

If Deccan build some sort of momentum, though, and beat Chennai, more intrigue will follow: Chennai, Bangalore, Deccan and Kolkata will we levelled at 10 points each in that scenario, with the second match of Saturday to break up the tie between Kolkata and Bangalore. It’s all a bit delicate for all the five teams involved, and time for making mistakes is gone. This much is given: both sides will be feeling good after upset victories against Bangalore and Mumbai Indians in their last respective matches.

Form guide (most recent first)

Chennai Super Kings WWWLL
Deccan Chargers WLLLL

Team talk
T Suman solved a big headache for Deccan, becoming the first Indian domestic player to make a sizeable contribution for them this season. It might still be a step too far for them to do away with an overseas allrounder, Mitchell Marsh in this case, and bring in Chaminda Vaas to bolster a struggling bowling attack. In tough times, though, tough teams make tough calls.

Doug Bollinger’s arrival has given Chennai the x-factor they needed, but Thilan Thushara’s impressive performance ahead of Muttiah Muralitharan will give them a bit of a selectorial headache, especially with Albie Morkel and Justin Kemp returning to fitness. Morkel should take his place ahead of Mike Hussey, which will make it an interesting toss-up between Thushara and Murali. Sudeep Tyagi should retain his place ahead of L Balaji, Manpreet Gony and Joginder Sharma.

Deccan 3, Chennai 2
In their first match, in the first week of the tournament, Deccan racked up 190 and defended it with ease in Chennai, to break their head-to-head tie over the last two seasons.

In the spotlight
Adam Gilchrist has been striking at the rate of 176.81 per 100 balls, but the trouble for Deccan is he has lasted on an average only 13.8 balls per innings. Teams are mindful that one of these days he will play 50 balls, and run away with the match. Chennai will hope Saturday is not one of those days.

Something similar could be said of Matthew Hayden, who is yet to follow up his Mongoose-driven demolition of Delhi Daredevils with another match-winning innings. Just as with Gilchrist, his long-time ODI opening partner, Hayden’s next big innings can’t be too far away. We are in for some match if their big days coincide on the Saturday.

Prime numbers

* At 12 wickets, Murali is three short of purple-cap-holder Pragyan Ojha.
* Gilchrist’s 176.81 is the best strike-rate among those who have scored 200 or more in this IPL.
* At 89 wickets, Morkel is only one strike behind the most successful bowler in all Twenty20s, Yasir Arafat.

The chatter
“A 90% improved performance, still 10% left to do.”
Adam Gilchrist, after the win against Bangalore

“I think the fresh legs in our team after the three changes helped us. It was late when I went to bed, still feeling very elated. The next morning, I couldn’t believe we had won.”
VB Chandrasekhar on the mood in the Chennai camp after defeating Mumbai.

Source:Cricket News

Image Source:Cricinfo

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