Having been at the receiving end of fireworks from Virender Sehwag, which put the previous game beyond their reach, Pune Warriors now face a much easier opponent in their next game at home. The Pune team has been the surprise package of this edition of the IPL so far, exceeding expectations and harboring hopes in their fans. The Subrata Roy Sahara stadium shall witness PWI lock horns against a weaker Deccan Chargers side as they look to comeback from their defeat and secure a place in the play-offs.
Almost half way through the season, a win still eludes the Deccan Chargers. Five consecutive losses followed by a washed out game, consistency is now key for the Chargers if Sangakkara’s men are to manage a respectable end to IPL-5. Inconsistent performances, coupled with poor fielding, have cost the Chargers heavily and any chance of a turn-around is unlikely without an improved performance in all departments.
Pune Warriors was not a part of the first three editions of the IPL and so the teams have faced each other only twice so far and have grabbed a win each. In their last clash on May 16 2011, it was the Chargers who triumphed with a comfortable 6 wickets in hand.
Played 2: DC-1, PWI-1
1. Robin Uthappa
The explosive batsman has been crucial for the Pune side, also filling in as the Wicket keeper besides his role with the bat. He is capable of boosting the run-rate when needed and can add those few extra runs to the total with his wide range of attacking skills. He contributed with a half century in the previous game, coming in at number 4, but contrasting to his usual play, his strike rate was too less for Pune’s liking.
2. Jesse Ryder
The Kiwi international has been vital for the Warriors with his hard hitting at the top of the order. He has been in top form this season and can take the team off to a flying start. Sourav Ganguly will be looking to him to deal with the threat of Dale Steyn in the powerplay overs. Chargers will be glad to see him walk back as early as possible to keep the scoring in check.
3. Alfonso Thomas
With Ashish Nehra not in his best form, the responsibility to lead the attack has fallen to the shoulders of the experienced Thomas who needs to restrict the flow of runs from his end to build pressure on the batsmen and ease Nehra at the other end. He may also be called to deliver in the death overs as Nehra has been very expensive at that stage.
1. Dale Steyn
He has been in a purple patch, donning the Chargers’ blues this season and has been consistently performing with the ball. However, there is a desperate need for another bowler to offer him support from the other end as the pressure built up by him is eased by scoring off the other bowlers. A few wickets from him early in the Warriors’ innings and Chargers might be able to restrict Pune to a low score.
2. Kumar Sangakkara
The responsibility to get Chargers off to a good start lies on the shoulders of their captain as they need to post a high total on board. The experienced Sri Lankan batsman will have to keep the runs flowing at his end to allow other batsmen to settle in and set up a high score for the bowlers to defend. He couldn’t really get going in the last couple of games and that has cost the team. It is essential that he builds a strong opening partnership with Shikhar Dhawan to lay the foundation for a high score.
3. Shikhar Dhawan
The opener has been the only consistent performer in an underperforming Deccan Chargers side. A good player of spin, it is important for the Chargers that he tames the likes of Rahul Sharma and Murali Karthik and gets the team off to a flying start for other batsmen to build upon. He has been in a superb run of form and will look to extend that run against Pune tonight.
Going by the sides on paper and their recent form, Pune Warriors India look likely to beat Deccan Chargers in what may turn out to be a closely fought match.