Out of reckoning for a place in the playoffs and lying at the bottom of the points table, struggling and demoralised Deccan Chargers would love to salvage some pride and be the party poopers when they face the in-form Kings XI Punjab in Match 53 of this year's Indian Premier League.
Though the Deccan batsmen have come up with some impressive performances of late, the bowlers have struggled throughout the tournament. In their last match against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Sunday, the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Cameron White and Daniel Harris were all among the runs, but the lackluster performance of their bowlers and AB de Villiers' whirlwind knock took the game away from them. And there would be added pressure on Deccan on Tuesday as they will play in Hyderabad for the first time in this tournament.
Deccan's fielding and bowling have also been below par throughout the tournament. They have dropped catches in every match and have conceded extras, thanks to some indisciplined bowling. The biggest problem for Deccan has been the lack of firepower in their bowling department. Barring Dale Steyn, the Hyderabad franchise does not have quality bowlers in its ranks. And in the last match, even Steyn was taken to the cleaners by de Villiers. Their domestic pacers in Veer Pratap Singh, Ashish Reddy and Anand Rajan have also failed to provide the South African speedster ample support from the other end. The spin department has also struggled, with Amit Mishra having no clue about how to improve his bowling.
On the other hand, Kings XI Punjab have a decent chance of qualifying for the playoffs. They have 10 points from 11 games and a win on Tuesday can take them to the fourth spot in the points table. After consecutive wins over defending champions Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore, Punjab suffered a 43-run defeat at the hands of Rajasthan Royals in their last game, but they have enough ammunition in their arsenal to put that behind and come all guns blazing against Deccan.
Azhar Mahmood's presence in the side has given Punjab the right balance. Mahmood has been in decent form, having contributed both with the bat and ball. Stand-in skipper David Hussey's leadership has revived the fading fortunes of the team. Hussey has led the team from the front, scoring 263 runs from 11 games. And with Adam Gilchrist showing no signs of full fitness, Hussey is expected to wear the captain's armband again against Deccan. The other key players for them have been batsmen Shaun Marsh with 290 runs and Mandeep Singh with 284 runs.
In the bowling department, though medium pacer Praveen Kumar has struggled to get among the wickets, Parwinder Awana has been doing a good job to put brakes on the run rate. The inclusion of Ryan Harris has further bolstered Punjab's bowling, giving it a much more formidable look. Though expensive, legspinner Piyush Chawla has picked up wickets at regular interval.
So going by current form, Punjab appear much more balanced and in the right frame of find to inflict another defeat on Deccan and pocket crucial points to bolster their chances to reach the playoffs.
Deccan Chargers: 1 Daniel Harris, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Cameron White, 4 Kumar Sangakkara, 5 Parthiv Patel, 6 Ashish Reddy, 7 Akshath Reddy, 8 Amit Mishra, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Anand Rajan, 11 Veer Pratap Singh
Kings XI Punjab: 1 Shaun Marsh, 2 Mandeep Singh, 3 Nitin Saini, 4 David Hussey, 5 Azhar Mahmood, 6 Paras Dogra, 7 Abhishek Nayar, 8 Piyush Chawla, 9 Ryan Harris, 10 Praveen Kumar, 11 Parvinder Awana