Hyderabad, May 2: Their survival in the Indian Premier League at stake, former champions Deccan Chargers face an uphill battle as they take on a spirited Kolkata Knight Riders here tomorrow.
Deccan have played eight matches so far and managed to win only three of them. The roller-coaster campaign puts them in the lower half of the points table with six points. Significantly, four other IPL teams also have six points and Deccan have another half a dozen matches at hand to rise in the table.
But the task is not easy as Kumar Sangakkara's men go into tomorrow's match after a 19-run loss to Chennai Super Kings last night.
The Sri Lankan was quick to highlight the need for a winning streak in the later half of the event after the crushing loss last night.
“It is pretty simple. We have six games, we have to win five of them to stay alive in this competition. It is a great challenge. We are playing well, but we have to convert that extra 10 or five per cent to try and win a game,” he said. In the slam-bang format that is Twenty20, a solid batting line-up is a must for any team and Deccan have been struggling on that front.
The likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Sunny Sohal, Bharat Chipli and Sangakkara himself have not done enough to intimidate rival bowlers. The quartet will have to rediscover its form for Deccan to have any chance of going further in the tournament.
On the bowling front, hosts would look up to Ishant Sharma, who has shown glimpses of good form after being off-colour for most part of the event, and Dale Steyn in the pace department.
Pragyan Ojha and Amit Mishra will be spearheading the spin attack.
On the other hand, Kolkata have 10 points and are second in the overall standings, having won five out of eight matches they have played so far.
The high-profile line-up of batsmen led by Gautam Gambhir, includes all-rounder Jacques Kallis, Yusuf Pathan and Manoj Tiwary, all of whom have been in decent touch. The bowling too looks formidable with an in-form Brett Lee spearheading the pace attack rather well with Laxmipathy Balaji as an able support.
Coming off back-to-back wins, confidence is bound to be high in the Kolkata camp but playing at home would certainly work to Deccan's advantage in what promises to be an interesting contest.
The Teams (from):
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (Capt.), L Balaji, Pradeep Sangwan, SS Ladda, Brett Lee, Iqbal Abdulla, Jaidev Unadkat, James Pattinson, Shami Ahmed, Manoj Tiwary, Eoin Morgan, Rajat Bhatia, Yusuf Pathan, Jacques Kallis, L R Shukla, Shakib Al Hasan, Ryan ten Doeschate, M S Bisla, Mark Boucher, S P Goswami.
Deccan Chargers: Kumar Sangakkara (Capt.), Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Harmeet Singh, Amit Mishra, J Theron, Manpreet Gony, Akash Bhandari, Dale Steyn, Shikhar Dhawan, DB Raviteja, Arjun Yadav, Sunny Sohal, Abhinav Kumar, Bharat Chipli, Ishant Jaggi, Jaydev Shah, Kedar Devdhar, Chris Lynn, Michael Lumb, JP Duminy, I Malhotra, AA Reddy, Cameron White, Anand Rajan, Daniel Christian and Ankit Sharma. PTI