The Deccan Chargers are again looking at Andrew Symonds to deliver in the second semifinal on Thursday. Symonds has been the all-rounder of the tournament, be it with the bat, ball or on the field. He has over 400 runs and wickets and catches in abundance, which is the highest even if you include regular wicketkeepers! His highest is a mere 54, which suggests consistency.
He has also peppered the hoardings and beyond with fours and sixes for nearly 60 per cent of his total runs. The Chargers owe a lot of their upsurge to this mercurial Aussie.
Symonds’ true value extends beyond statistics.
He is extremely quick on his feet, which is a deterrent for batsmen looking to steal singles. His powerful throws, again from the boundary, can turn a few dashes to disasters.
Further, when the Chargers struggled with their new-ball pair of Chaminda Vaas and RP Singh, Symonds bowled effective medium-pacers. He was then back with his off-spinners in the middle of the innings.
Clearly, a lot of Chennai’s focus will be on Symonds. So far, he has largely batted down the order. It would suit Chennai for their attack has centred around their spinners.
R Ashwin, Muttiah Muralitharan and Shadab Jakati, between them, have picked up almost half the wickets. I won’t be surprised if Symonds is pushed up the order a bit.
Chennai do not have a man of such diverse talents. In many ways, it’s a team of specialists. The batsmen do their job and the bowlers do their hard yards. Each one has his role defined.
Albie Morkel, an all-rounder, has been an under-achiever for Chennai. The only real all-rounder they have is MS Dhoni and he is the champ the Chargers will have to be wary of. Interestingly, this IPL hasn’t thrown up inspiring all-round performances.
Angelo Matthews began well but then tapered off for lack of opportunity. Jean Paul Duminy has only now begun to warm up as a batsman. Yusuf Pathan inspired more, yet delivered less. His teammate Shane Watson joined in too late and his absence showed in the Rajasthan Royals’ campaign.
Figures would plumb for Jacques Kallis as the all-rounder of the IPL. He has been a mighty scorer and no less a force with the ball for he has 11 wickets.
Yet, in terms of carrying the team on his shoulders or performing a variety of roles and being an answer to the Chargers’ problems, Symonds has been the act to beat.