With fingers crossed and hopes high, Deccan Chargers will be involved in a face-off with the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday at Bangalore's Chinnaswamy Stadium. After losing seven of their 10 matches in IPL 5 so far, every match for DC from here on is a do-or-die encounter in race to the play-offs.
Deccan have been on a bumpy road in the Indian Premier League 2012 ever since the start. Their two wins of the tournament so far have come against the same team – Pune Warriors India – and can be attributed to the batsmen as their bowling has been a one-man army so far with Dale Steyn.
Deccan's batting, though far better than their bowling, has started performing only lately. Cameron White has found his niche in the latter half of the league but has been short of partners. Kumar Sangakkara hasn't been his usual fluent self and the poor form of local players has made things worse.
Bangalore have no time left to hit top form while Deccan's IPL dream is all but over.
Steyn – the South African – has been riding the same boat as White, finding no support from the other bowlers, including Indian Test bowler Amit Mishra and Australian limited-over specialist Daniel Christian.
In Bangalore's case, they have managed to stay in the middle of the leaderboard, holding sixth position as of now with 9 points. Though they lost the last match, Virat Kohli's return to form was a welcome sign as Chris Gayle continues to blast opponents. And if the likes of AB de Villiers can score with some sort of regularity, there aren't many attacks that can stop the RCB batting line-up.
Zaheer Khan is the leading wicket-taker for RCB with 9 wickets at 31.33 runs, but continues to suffer with inconsistent partners, namely Vinay Kumar, K Appanna and skipper Daniel Vettori. In that scenario, Muttiah Muralitharan is certain to return into the eleven. That could mean Vettori may once again have to sit out and hand over the captain’s armband to Virat Kohli.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Mayank Aggarwal, Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Andrew McDonald, Asad Pathan, Saurabh Tiwary, Daniel Vettori (c) / Muttiah Muralitharan, Vinay Kumar, K Appanna, Zaheer Khan
Deccan Chargers: Parthiv Patel (wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Cameron White, Kumar Sangakkara (c), Daniel Christian, Ashish Reddy, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Ankit Sharma, Amit Mishra, Dale Steyn, Veer Pratap Singh