Deccan will miss their regular skipper Kumar Sangakkara, who is on national duty, in their first match of IPL 5. (AP Photo)
Visakhapatnam: Deccan Chargers, champions of the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), will host current title-holders Chennai Super Kings in the sixth match of season five at Deccan's second home ground, Visakhapatnam, on Saturday. While Chennai will want to put the memory of their humiliating loss to Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener behind them, Deccan look a trimmed outfit after losing several players in transfer deals and the IPL auctions, including the likes of Kevin Pietersen and Pragyan Ojha.
Chennai's batting let them down badly against Mumbai and skipper MS Dhoni will be hoping that their batsmen come out with much more intent this time around. Murali Vijay would be lucky to retain his place after a mediocre performance against Mumbai and could be replaced by left-hander Abhinav Mukund if he his fully fit. Wriddhiman Saha, who is in a fine form, could also be called in to provide a much required balance to the side. Much will depend on the duo of Dhoni and Suresh Raina to secure Chennai's first win on Saturday. Raina was in good form against Mumbai scoring 36 off just 26 balls and will be hoping for another good knock against Deccan. Allrounder Ravindra Jadeja, the costliest player at this year's auction, came a cropper against Mumbai, but he can be a match-winner on his day, so Deccan have to be wary of him.
While CSK's bowlers had little to play with against MI — following the champions' batting collapse — Dhoni might look at a few changes. Sudeep Tyagi could find favour ahead of Yo Mahesh to join the rest of the attack comprising Doug Bollinger, Morne Morkel and Darren Bravo. R Ashwin will also look to make an impact quickly in the tournament.
On the other hand, Deccan, after losing a number of players in the auction, have gone for a young and unpredictable squad. They can be seen as the underdogs for this tournament and don't be surprised if they spring a surprise against Chennai. In the absence of regular skipper Kumar Sangakkara, who is busy playing the Test series against England, Cameron White will lead the side. West Indian Darren Bravo, who has been compared with the legendary batsman Brian Lara, will also not be available as he will be doing national duty at home in the Test series against Australia. This means that Deccan's batting will be dependent on Bharat Chipli, Shikhar Dhawan, Parthiv Patel and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala along with young Akshath Reddy, who had a great domestic season.
On the bowling front, Deccan look much more settled with Dale Steyn leading the pace attack and the spin front will be led by Amit Mishra, who was the leading wicket-taker for DC last season, with 19 scalps. The duo has everything in them to pull out a shock win over Chennai. Rusty Theron could share the new ball in the absence of the injured Ishant Sharma, while Manpreet Gony and Ashish Reddy are other seam bowling back-ups.
Though Chennai are favourites, Deccan have the ability and reputation to cause an upset.
Chennai Super Kings: 1. Murali Vijay/Abhinav Mukand, 2. Faf du Plessis, 3. Suresh Raina, 4. S Badrinath, 5. MS Dhoni (capt), 6. Dwayne Bravo, 7. Ravindra Jadeja, 8. Albie Morkel, 9. R Ashwin, 10. Doug Bollinger, 11. Sudeep Tyagi
Deccan Chargers: 1. Shikhar Dhawan, 2. Parthiv Patel (wk), 3. JP Duminy, 4. Cameron White (capt), 5. Bharat Chipli, 6. Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, 7. Akshath Reddy, 8. Dale Steyn, 9. Rusty Theron, 10. Amit Mishra, 11. Manpreet Gony