26th May: Chennai S. Kings v Mumbai I, 14:30 GMT
24th-28th May: 2nd Test, Headingley
Gurjeet Sapal previews the Indian Premier League third/fourth place play-off between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Deccan Chargers.
The Decan Chargers will take on The Royal Challengers Bangalore in the third/fourth place play-off this year, on Saturday 24th April (start time 14:30 GMT). Last year these teams battled it out in the final in a game that saw Deccan lift the IPL trophy for the first time.
It is all to play for tomorrow because the victorious side will gain a place in the coveted Champions League along side the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings.
Both teams have a great balance of experience and youth in their side, a factor both captains will be looking to take full advantage of.
Anil Kumble, 40, will lead his side tomorrow, perhaps for the last time. He hinted to the official IPL website (www.iplt20.com) in an interview that ‘the tournament has taken its toll.’
“There is one more game and then, you know, I don’t know. The Champions League is there, but I am pushing 40 so I don’t know. My body needs to hold up and bowling four overs is not a problem but the other things that happen on the cricket field have taken their toll, the training to play these 16 games is not easy.”
Kumble’s opposite number, Adam Gilchrist, has had a quiet tournament for his high standards. In his 14 games, he has managed 270 runs at an average of 19.29 and although his average has fallen in this tournament, he has managed an outstanding strike rate of 167.70. This suggests that if Gilchrist spends time at the crease tomorrow then this is likely to result in Deccan defeating Bangalore.
Gilchrist will be hoping that Pragyan Ojha can continue his fine form with the ball in Decan’s final game. The young left-arm spinner has been outstanding throughout the tournament, picking up 20 wickets so far.
This great effort has earned him the purple cap as he is the leading wicket taker in the 2010 IPL. It is likely this accolade will stay with Ojha to the end, as the second leading wicket-taker is Amit Mishra, who has taken 17 wickets for the aleady-eliminated Delhi Daredevils.
Although Ojha has proven himself to be a consistent wicket-taker, he has been over looked for India's ICC World Twenty20 squad that travels to the West Indies next week. The selectors have opted for leg-spinner Piyush Chawla as their front-line spinner in the World Twenty20 tournament. Chawla took a respectable 12 wickets in his 14 games for bottom of the table Kings XI Punjab, however the omission of Ojha will leave many supporters scratching their heads.
Many eyes will on focus on Dale Steyn when he has the new ball in his hand. The number one ranked test bowler in the world has take 12 wickets from his 13 games in this IPL competition. He has swung the ball consistently at speeds around 150km/h. These hostile opening spells have paved the way for the likes of Jacques Kallis and Praveen Kumar to take key wickets.
After being rested Kevin Pietersen reminded everybody what a fantastic talent he is, when he struck a blistering 62 from 29 balls to secure a crucial win for the Royal Challengers against the Rajastan Royals. Skipper Kumble will be hoping Pietersen can replicate this type of innings in the Champions League play-off.
Equally, Deccan’s captain, Gilchrist, will be looking for a similar sort of effort from his former Australian team-mate, Andrew Symonds, Who has struck 404 runs in his 14 games at a healthy average of 33.37. Symonds is known as a destructive batsman and the Twenty20 format suits his style of play. He will be a key member of the team if the Chargers are to gain a Champions league place.
In their last two fixtures against each other Deccan have beaten Bangalore on both occasions. Gilchrist often speaks of momentum going in to games and he will be hoping that his team can make it three out of three against Kumble’s men.
© Cricket World 2010
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