Date: Friday, May 4.
Venue: MA Chidambaram stadium, Chennai
Time: 20:00 hrs (14:30 GMT)
Chargers aren’t playing as a unit and it’s out in the open now. Since the first season, probably, no team has gone through so much change. A team that boasted of Gilchrist, Symonds, Afridi, Gibbs, Laxman, etc. in the first season, now has none of them in their kitty. What they have is a totally new bunch led by Kumar Sangakarra, formerly a Kings XI player, and flanked by Australian players like Cameron White and Daniel Christian, South African Jean Paul Duminy etc. Dale Steyn was the best buy the Chargers have made and that is reflected in his performances.
One time IPL champions, Deccan Chargers, are now settled at the bottom of the table, this season. The Indian contingency is young — apart from Shikhar Dhawan, Parthiv Patel, Amit Mishra and Manpreet Gony (if you count), the rest of them are yet to earn their national call-up. The lack of experience is quite evident. A lot was expected from the exports, but sadly they haven’t lived up to the high expectations. The tension can be gauged from the fact that Sangakarra went vocal yesterday saying, “Overseas players need to understand their responsibilities and absorb the majority of the pressure.”
Their opponents, Chennai Super Kings, are playing better cricket. CSK has won four out of their nine completed matches, compared to Chargers’ two out of eight. But it will be fair to say that even CSK hasn’t been anywhere close to their best. At number five now, unless they pick up their performance they can be out of the competition. But CSK has the habit of being lazy starters – they usually improve in the later stages. The men-in-yellow’s main worry has been their batting which has repeatedly failed to put up big totals.
Chennai has an obvious edge over Deccan but one needs to consider the fact that the former has only one point from its last three games, the latter have four points from their equal number of recent matches.
Players to watch out for:
Dale Steyn – The South African is arguably the best bowler in world cricket at this moment, although the arguers are very few. Steyn mixes his devastating pace with impeccable line and length; he is any captain’s dream. Since his rise to prominence, Steyn has been a fearsome bowler anywhere he has gone and in whatever version of the game he has played. IPL is no exception. This season, from his seven matches he has picked up 11 wickets at 16.36. And we know for such players, average is just another mathematical mumbo-jumbo.
Kumar Sangakarra – The Sri Lankan player is passionate about the game, that you gather from the way he talks about cricket. He brings the same enthusiasm onto the field. He goes to extents, crosses limits. If he knows he isn’t performing, he may decide not to play. Sangakkara loathes failure. Had he not been the person he is, he might have adopted desperate measures to avoid failure. This desperation was evident in the first five matches where he repeatedly failed to beat his demons. In the last game, Sanga ensured he rose over it. He has broken the shackles, cracking a 52-ball 82 in their victory over the Pune Warriors in the last match. There’s more to come.
Other notable players – Shikhar Dhawan and Cameron White.
Chennai Super Kings
Faf du Plessis – There’s not much to write, the stats are there to be seen. He is Chennai’s highest run scorer this season. He needs to perform for Chennai to win this match, as he has had to perform in almost every victory of Chennai’s.
Albie Morkel – The South African big-hitting all rounder has been grossly under-used by a team that is yet to click as a batting unit. He single handedly drove the team to victory in a matter of six balls against Bangalore — smashing 28 of Kohli’s over. It is shocking to see that Morkel has overall faced just 41 deliveries in the eight matches he has played. A shuffle in the batting order, pushing him ahead of Raina and Dhoni might not be a bad experiment.
Other notable players – Dwayne Bravo and Doug Bollinger.
Last five clashes
- Chennai Super Kings beat Deccan Chargers by 19 runs on May 1, 2011 at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai.
- Chennai Super Kings beat Deccan Chargers by 38 runs on April 22, 2010 at Dr DY Patil Sports Academy, Navi Mumbai.
- Deccan Chargers beat Chennai Super Kings by 6 wickets on April 10, 2010 at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur.
- Deccan Chargers beat Chennai Super Kings by 31 runs on March 14, 2010 at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai.
- Chennai Super Kings beat Deccan Chargers by 78 runs on May 4, 2009 at Buffalo Park, East London.
Prediction: Chennai are the superior team and should win. But watch out for Sangakarra and don’t blink when Steyn is on the screen.