Chennai: Having finally tasted success after a string of five defeats, the Deccan Chargers would be keen to scalp another opponent when they face an equally inconsistent Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here Friday.
While the Chargers occupy the last spot on the leaderboard with five points from nine games, the Super Kings have just nine after 10 outings.
Though both the Chargers’ wins came against the Pune Warriors on either of a defeat to Mumbai Indians, the Hyderabad outfit appear to have found their moorings and to say the least, have the firepower to bring down the Super Kings who themselves are searching for the form that had won them two consecutive IPL titles.
It promises to be an intriguing contest with Chargers banking on skipper Kumar Sangakkara and Dale Steyn to lead their challenge as in the past, but hoping that the likes of Cameron White would sustain the form following his 45-ball 74 in the previous game.
Sangakkara also seems to have run into form after a poor start to the season that saw him take the extreme step of dropping himself for a game before returning with a classy 82 off 52 balls in a winning cause against Pune barely 48 hours ago.
With their big guns finally firing, the Chargers look a different side as they visit Chennai for the return game that provides them an opportunity to avenge the massive 74-run defeat at home nearly a month ago when the Super Kings piled up 193 and then dismissed the hosts for 119 in the 18th over.
Despite the big win, the Super Kings have looked anything but a champion side and even the inclusion of Aussie Michael Hussey who played the last game at Chepauk within hours after a 20-hour flight from the West Indies after completing the Test series.
There have been many suggestions as to how the Super Kings should tinker with their line-up and also alter the batting order by sending the big-hitters like Albie Morkel earlier. For all that, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni believes that he has the combination right and, as usual, has backed himself, though the desired results have not been forthcoming.
The fact that the Super Kings have lost three of their six games at home this season accurately reflects their up-and-down performance so far, though individually, opening batsman Francois du Plessis has been in top form but the same cannot be said of others. The bowling too has been a bit of a let-down for Chennai with their key strike bowler Doug Bollinger being benched.
Thus, there is a lot of stake in Friday’s game, much more for the Super Kings who cannot afford to drop any more points if they hope to make the four-team play-offs while for Chargers, it is a question of playing for their pride with their chances of making the knock-out rather slim.