Cuttack: After being thrashed by Mumbai Indians, Deccan Chargers are up against a team that has been the source of their only win in IPL 5. And with an added advantage of facing them in their own backyard this time, Deccan would want to keep their hopes of qualification in the play-offs alive when they face the Sourav Ganguly-led Pune Warriors India on Tuesday.
However, nothing has been going Deccan's way in the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League except Dale Steyn gunning batsmen down. Defending a low score against Mumbai on Sunday, Deccan were able to prolong the inevitable loss only because of Steyn's brilliant spell. And with Daniel Christian and Ashish Reddy also looking good, Deccan's bowling seems to be clicking while the batting keeps failing other than some individual performance as a flash in the pan.
The magnitude of Deccan's woes and their inability to deal with it can be gauged by skipper Kumar Sangakkara benching himself for the last game. No doubt the Sri Lankan ace hasn't found his touch, but when you see a captain dropping himself, it's more of a surrender than a sacrifice that it is made out to be. It's hard for the team to lift itself up from such a low. And since even that drastic measure didn't bear any fruit, Sangakkara is expected to return with the captain's armband, replacing Daniel Christian in most likelihood.
Pune, who have eight points – the same as Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, will also want to make some gains from this outing. But while not many parallels can be drawn between Pune and Deccan, it shouldn't be forgotten that Deccan brought them down to earth, when they won by 18 runs in Pune.
However, Pune's batting is loaded with far more explosives than the hosts. Jesse Ryder and Manish Pandey is a pair that looks threatening at the top, with the likes of Marlon Samuels, Robin Uthappa and Steven Smith giving it an intimidating look.
Pune's bowling, it should be admitted, is not as strong as their batting. Barring seasoned T20 pros Alfonso Thomas and Murali Kartik, none of the bowlers have been consistent. Nehra has more or less failed as a spearhead that he was thought to be, with Rahul Sharma playing more as an economical bowler than a wicket-taker. So much will depend on how Ganguly marshals his resources in the field to keep Deccan at bay.
Deccan Chargers: 1 Parthiv Patel (wk), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (c), 4 Cameron White, 5 JP Duminy, 6 Ishank Jaggi, 7 Ankit Sharma, 8 Dale Steyn, 9 Amit Mishra, 10 Ashish Reddy, 11 Manpreet Gony
Pune Warriors India: 1 Manish Pandey, 2 Jesse Ryder, 3 Sourav Ganguly (c), 4 Robin Uthappa (wk), 5 Marlon Samuels, 6 Steven Smith, 7 Mithun Manhas, 8 Alfonso Thomas, 9 Murali Kartik, 10 Rahul Sharma, 11 Ashish Nehra