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Deccan-Chennai tie promises to be a humdinger

cricket Updated: May 04, 2009 15:38 IST
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Pulled back by two successive losses after their fairytale unbeaten run, Deccan Chargers is in for a tough contest against Chennai Super Kings, a side riding high on two consecutive wins, in the Indian Premier League in South Africa today.

Adam Gilchrist's Deccan Chargers, which finished at the bottom of the table last season, surprisingly won four successive matches before hitting a rough patch with defeats in the last two matches.

Losses to Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals may not have affected the side's number one status in the IPL points table but the twin debacles would have definitely dented the morale.

In contrast, it has been a revival of sorts for Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Chennai, which interestingly beat Rajasthan and Delhi to get its IPL campaign back on track after a rather disappointing first week for a team that was runners-up last year.

The key to Deccan's success has been Gilchrist's rampaging form with the bat, brilliantly complemented by fellow opener Herschelle Gibbs.

The duo has done the bulk of scoring for Deccan with Gilchrist amassing 210 while Gibbs has 191 runs to his credit in the six matches the team has played so far.

In fact, their early dismissals was a major reason for the side's losses in the past two matches.

Chennai, on the other hand, has relied way too heavily on Australian opener Matthew Hayden (246) - the tournament's leading scorer right now even though Suresh Raina has also chipped in with valuable contributions.

Raina is currently second on the leading scorers' list with 232 runs, including a fifty. But skipper Dhoni is yet to click and his form is vital for Chennai down the order.

Deccan holds a slight edge even in bowling, having the tournament's second highest wicket-taker medium pacer R P Singh, who has taken 12 wickets so far, in its fold.

Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha has been in good nick as well picking up 10 wickets in six matches.

Chennai's bowling, however, lacks the bite with the exception of star off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who has taken five wickets in the five matches he has played.

Left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati, however, sizzled against the Daredevils last night, picking four wickets and Dhoni would be tempted to go in with a two-pronged spin attack again.

Chennai has the momentum going into the match but if Gilchrist and Gibbs click, Deccan might just race away with the game.