The Deccan Chargers will be aiming to keep their unbeaten status intac when they face a star-studded Mumbai Indians at the Kingsmead in Durban.
The Chargers finished bottom of the log in the inaugural season of the IPL in India last year, but seem to have undergone a complete transformation and a thorough refining of tactics has seen them head this year’s table after victory in the first two matches against the defending champions Rajasthan Royals and the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
They appear to have come together nicely during a 10-day camp in Pretoria prior to start of the tournament. Captain Adam Gilchrist, Herschelle Gibbs and the stylish Rohit Sharma have scored the bulk of the Deccan Chargers’ runs at the top of the order, while left-arm swing bowler RP Singh and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojah have starred with the ball. No wonder then that you find four of the Deccan Chargers in the Top 10 listings for the Orange Cap and Purple Cap standing.
Rohit Sharma with 88 runs and Adam Gilchrist with 84 both feature in the Top 10 for the Orange Cap race, while R P Singh with his rich haul of 6 wickets leads the Puprle Cap standings and has team-mate Kiwi Scott Styris giving him company with 5 wickets.
However, the clearest indication of the unity of purpose that exists in the Deccan Chargers team has been their fielding. Gibbs and Sharma have displayed great athleticism and enthusiasm in the inner-ring to set the
example for the rest of the side as they’ve pressed opposition batsmen with their cutting off of singles and their stopping of boundaries.
They’ll need to be at their best as they confront a Mumbai Indians batting line-up consisting of Sachin Tendulkar (who celebrated his 36th birthday this week), Sanath Jayasuriya and JP Duminy. The Indians haven’t played for a week after their second match against Rajasthan was rained out
Shaun Pollock, who heads up the coaching duties, sought to keep the Mumbai Indians’ rhythm going with a match against a local provincial team on Thursday, but it remains to be seen whether that lengthy break has done them harm or if they can recapture the intensity they displayed in picking up that opening day win against the Chennai Super Kings.