The Deccan Chargers begin their mission to secure a semi-final spot with a vital match against the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Wanderers on Saturday.
Close on the heels of their suicidal 12-run loss against the Delhi Daredevils, the Deccan Chargers will be hoping to cash in on Kolkata Knight Riders horrific form to take themselves a step closer to a place
in the last four.
The Deccan Chargers have three matches remaining in the league phase, Saturday’s being the first, and it is a match they really should win given the poor form the Kolkata Knight Riders find themselves in after 11 matches.
Having swept aside Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings with consummate ease, Adam Gilchrist’s men clearly looked the most high-flying squad before they witnessed a wretched stretch with three defeats on the trot.
The three successive defeats also marked the start of an inconsistent run for the Hyderabad outfit, who only brought upon themselves further agony by gifting the Delhi Daredevils their last match on a platter. But Deccan Chargers skipper Gilchrist will be in no mood to repeat his mistake and a shattered Knight Riders side provide him the ideal opportunity to bring his side’s rampaging form back.
If Gilchrist, Dwayne Smith, Herschelle Gibbs, Rohit Sharma were not enough, Deccan’s batting has now been bolstered by the return of Andrew Symonds who proved his detractors wrong with quick fire contributions in his two outings. But what remains a matter of concern for Deccan is their batsmen’s habit of giving away their wickets unnecessarily, which had been the case against the Delhi Daredevils on Wednesday.
Deccan’s bowling department is being led by rejuvenated RP Singh, who is a strong contender for the purple cap, and is among the highest wicket-takers in the league, while Chaminda Vaas has proved that he still has some aces up his sleeves in his two outings. Pragyan Ojha has been a revelation in the spin department, while Rohit Sharma’s part-time off-spin has been more than handy.
On the other hand, with nine defeats to its credit the Knight Riders have nothing to lose and will be playing for pride in their last three matches, expecting to notch up a few upsets to further spice up the semi-final race.
The Kolkata outfit can take heart from the fact that their batting at last had clicked in the tournament with skipper Brendon McCullum returning to form with a unbeaten 84 off 64 balls to take his side to their highest score of 173 against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday. To add to that Australian David Hussey’s return to the squad has added more stability to the middle-order.
However, the Kolkata Knight Riders looked dispirited after their defeat to the Royal Challengers Bangalore and they now need to show some real character to get up dust themselves of all the problems and play spoiler in their remaining three games to make-up for a poor season.