Preview: Deccan vs Mumbai, Match 27

April 24, 2011

It’s Sachin Tendulkar’s birthday and he is playing a match. If ever the IPL needed to boost ratings and ensure a majority tunes in to watch, this is the best thing for it. Even though Sachin’s Mumbai Indians will travel to Hyderabad to play the Deccan Chargers, there is little doubt who the most vociferous crowd cheers will be for.

Mumbai Indians:

They have so far gotten results in accordance with their strength on paper. Their most recent win, was also their most significant. The fact that it came against defending champions Chennai, that they won in spite of a sub-par total, that they turned the match around and that they won after a low score from Tendulkar all added up to enhancing Mumbai’s invincible aura. Rohit Sharma came into his own while batting and Harbhajan Singh re-discovered the wicket-taker in him. The whole Mumbai team will have extra motivation to win today because of Tendulkar’s birthday, but they must not let the occasion overwhelm the match. There were reports that the man himself might not take the field due to his personal commitments. That would be a huge loss for the fans and for Mumbai, but even if Tendulkar is not there, Mumbai still have enough quality to win in his absence.

The only missing link for Mumbai is probably the fact that Kieron Pollard has still not had any time in the middle to display his big-hitting prowess. With Harbhajan also finding form, Malinga always dangerous and Munaf supremely thrifty – Mumbai’s bowling is looking almost as formidable as their batting. And as they showed against Chennai, their fielding is top drawer too.

Deccan Chargers:

Kumar Sangakkara has a team full of talented individuals but somehow, the Chargers’ results have not gone exactly as they wanted. To be sure, two wins in five games is not a disastrous result by any means, but ideally Deccan would have wanted at least one and possibly two wins more than they have so far. They have a bowling attack to rival Mumbai’s – with Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra all performing well. In addition there is Pragyan Ojha, who has not been at his best, but who is a quality player. Deccan’s overseas players are likely to be Kumar Sangakkara, Dale Steyn, Daniel Christian and Cameron White. Of them, the first three have done very well so far, but White has been a bit off-key. He replaced JP Duminy in the line-up who had also done a more bit-part role than a starring one.

Deccan have been well served by their young Indian talent with Bharat Chipli and Sunny Sohal more than pulling their weight in the team. What Deccan need is their collection of talents to pull together in one game. They have the quality to do it, and if they upset Mumbai, it might just be the tonic they require to infuse fresh life into their IPL campaign.

Watch out for:

The Sharmas: Both Ishant Sharma and Rohit Sharma had arrived on the international scene with a bang. Both were talked of as superb talents who would soar to great heights. Both did not quite live up to the promise. Maybe it was the act of watching India win the World Cup from the sidelines, or just the simple fact of being excluded from the national set-up for a while, but something has stoked the hunger within, and there is a new intensity about them. If both are looking at the IPL as the ideal tournament in which to prove some points to themselves and the selectors, it can only add up to riveting cricket.

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