Visakhapatnam: Deccan Chargers have a lot to prove. Since their march to glory in the second edition of the IPL in 2009, the graph has taken a downward slide for the Hyderabad-based team. After going down to Royal Challengers Bangalore in the play-off for third place the following year, the team was placed seventh on the points table at the end of last season. The latest for them is a face-off against Mumbai Indians, on the back of a 74-run mauling at the hands of defending champions Chennai Super Kings.
The welcome return of skipper Kumar Sangakkara to the side, who missed out on Deccan's tournament opener against Chennai due to Sri Lanka's recently concluded Test series against England at home, is sure to prove a shot in the arm in the batting as well as leadership departments. A chase of 194 was always going to be a daunting one against CSK, but the fact that DC fell so woefully short of their mark emphasises how badly the side missed his services.
A line-up which looks thin on paper at the best of times, will need Sangakkara to fire at the top of the order along with Shikhar Dhawan, and some solid contributions in the middle from Cameron White and allrounder Daniel Christian. The withdrawal of Ishant Sharma before the start of the tournament puts added pressure on Dale Steyn, who lacks quality support from the other end.
After the 74-run mauling at the hands of Chennai, Deccan face another favourite, Mumbai.
Mumbai on the other hand have coped with mixed results, the exit of Sachin Tendulkar from the post of captaincy which he held from the inaugural season in 2008 till last year. Tendulkar - who sustained a finger injury off the bowling of Doug Bollinger and was forced to retire hurt against Chennai - during Mumbai's eight-wicket win is a doubtful starter for the Deccan clash, after having missed the match against Pune Warriors India which Mumbai went on to lose.
Man for man, Mumbai have a far superior team on paper with names like Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Johnson and Ambati Rayudu in their ranks, not to mention Tendulkar and Harbhajan. However, it's 4-4 as far as previous IPL meetings between Mumbai and Deccan are concerned and both teams will be raring to go one up on each other at Vizag on Monday in match nine of IPL 5.
Deccan Chargers: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Parthiv Patel (wk), 3 Kumar Sangakkara (capt), 4 Cameron White, 5 JP Duminy, 6 Bharat Chipli, 7 Dwarka Ravi Teja, 8 Manpreet Gony, Ravi Teja, 9 Ankit Sharma, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Tekkami Atchuta Rao
Mumbai Indians: 1 Richard Levi, 2 Suryakumar Yadav, 3 Rohit Sharma, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 James Franklin, 6 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Kieron Pollard, 8 Harbhajan Singh (capt), 9 Lasith Malinga, 10 Pragyan Ojha, 11 Munaf Patel