Gilchrist, Sangakkara all set for a pitched battle
One can expect a cracker of a contest at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Uppal tomorrow, as both teams square off after recording convincing victories in their previous matches after not so great starts.
Interestingly for both `keeper captains Kumar Sangakkara and Gilchrist, it will be a reversal of roles as they will be pitted against a side they have captained during the last season.
While Gilchrist was Deccan Chargers skipper for the last three editions, Sangakkara had unsuccessfully led the KXIP during their worst ever finish last season.
One one side, it will be a test of leadership skills for both Sangakkara and Gilchrist while on the otherhand, the likes of Bharat Chipli and Paul Valthaty will like to show world that they can consistently come good at the big stage.
For KXIP, the match against defending champions Chennai Super Kings after being crushed by Pune Warriors India may just be the shot in the arm they required after what transpired throughout the last season.
All eyes will certainly be on 27-year-old Valthaty who captured the imagination of the nation after his smashing 120 not out off only 63 balls. The Uppal pitch will also help the batsmen and if Valthaty can get going, the crowd will be in for some entertainment.
The 2009 champions Chargers on the otherhand started off on a disastrous note losing their first couple of matches against the Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders. The 33-run victory yesterday would have definitely helped them feel relaxed as they play their second match at home.
Karnataka`s glovesman Bharat Chipli who is playing purely as batsman provided a lot of entertainment for the fans and he will be expected to continue his big-hitting against Praveen Kumar and Co.
KXIP will also expect that skipper Gilchrist fires along with big-hitters like Abhishek Nayar, Sunny Singh.
Chargers skipper Sangakkara feels that he has the ideally pace-spin combination to unsettle the opposition.
South African speedster Dale Steyn leading the pace attack for Chargers is in great form and leads the wickets tally for his team with six scalps. Ishant Sharma also bowled well against RCB and claimed his first wicket of the tournament.
Sangakkara who looked in good touch against the Royal Challengers will hope that he can again make substancial contribution for his tea,
For Gilchrist, whose bowlers took a bit of pounding at the hands of Murali Vijay and Dhoni will hope that they get their acts together. Praveen Kumar had provided crucial breakthroughs at the onset but hasn`t really been effective at the death. Piyush Chawla, the only questionable selection in India`s victorious World Cup campaign has also continued his poor form of World Cup.
Deccan Chargers: Sunny Sohal, Shikhar Dhawan, Kumar Sangakkara (capt), Bharat Chipli, Dan Christian, JP Duminy, DB Ravi Teja, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Dale Steyn, Manpreet Singh Gony
Kings XI Punjab: Adam Gilchrist (capt), Paul Valthaty, Shaun Marsh, Sunny Singh, Abhishek Nayar, Dinesh Karthik, Ryan McLaren, Praveen Kumar, Ryan Harris, Piyush Chawla, Bhargav Bhatt.