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Crucial match for Chargers

Nandita Sridhar

CRICKET / The Hyderabad team needs to regroup

— Photo: V. Ganesan

OF THE SAME FEATHER, BUT… Kiwis Stephen Fleming and Scott Styris will be in opposite camps in Tuesday’s game between Chennai Super Kings and Deccan Chargers.

Chennai: The scheduling and the format’s volatile disposition saw the Chennai Super Kings needing just two matches to slip from the top to fourth in the points table. On the other hand, the Deccan Chargers’ star-studded side has consistently underachieved, losing five out of its six matches so far. Both teams will clash at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday, for their seventh IPL match, hoping to feed off each other’s failings.

The Chennai side has missed the match-winning abilities of Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey and Jacob Oram. The host can learn from the Rajasthan Royals side, which dispelled theories on brands breeding success. The replacements haven’t clicked for Chennai as yet, but two games aren’t sufficient to predict the team’s progress from here.

Hayden’s power, pace and persona are all unmatched. Stephen Fleming, even with the weight of his experience, isn’t cut from the same cloth. Chennai needs to work around its prevalent core group and manage the skills it possesses. A shrewd man-manager in M.S. Dhoni will assure that much.

Unlike the wicket in Jaipur which had some moisture for Sohail Tanvir, the wicket here has been good to bat on so far, which should make it less difficult for the Super Kings.

Inexperienced attack

The bowling betrayed inexperience in coping with a rampant Virender Sehwag against Delhi. Manpreet Gony and Joginder Sharma exceeded expectations in the first four matches, when they were supported by Oram’s steadiness. Makhaya Ntini is pacier, and more of a wicket-taking bowler than Oram but needs the results. A lot more will be expected from him and spearhead Muttiah Muralitharan.

The Deccan Chargers suffered a heartbreaking loss in Bangalore, falling short in the final over. The Hyderabad side, despite explosives perfectly assembled, has been muted thus far. The bowling attack will be without Chaminda Vaas, who is away for personal reasons. R.P. Singh and Shahid Afridi will be required to strike. Hyderabad’s fortunes so far have been revelatory. Success needs more than individual sets of skills and marquee names. The side has failed to blend its characters.

Chennai’s failures have been less spectacular, which should give it the edge over Hyderabad for the match. But as one saw in Mumbai’s victory over Delhi on Sunday, predictions on the basis of form have proved inaccurate.

For their different reasons, both teams will be desperate to win this one. For Hyderabad, another loss will affect its morale, making it harder to stage a comeback. For Chennai, a win against the languishing Chargers will give it the start it needs to make up for the two reverses.

The teams (from): Chennai Super Kings: M.S. Dhoni (captain), S. Fleming, P. Patel, S. Raina, S. Badrinath, A. Morkel, S. Vidyut, J. Sharma, M. Muralitharan, M. Ntini, P. Amarnath, M. Goni, R. Ashwin, S. Anirudha, K.B. Arun Karthik and S. Jakati.

Deccan Chargers: V.V.S. Laxman (captain), A. Gilchrist, H. Gibbs, S. Afridi, S. Styris, R.P. Singh, R. Sharma, S. Bangar, A. Yadav, D. Kalyanakrishna, P. Ojha, C. Silva, N. Zoysa, D. Ravi Teja, S. Kumar, Venugopala Rao and P. Vijay Kumar.

Match begins at 8 p.m.

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