Royal Challengers Bangalore and Deccan Chargers face-off for third spot
MUMBAI: Deccan Chargers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore, who were punched out of the main bout of the DLF IPL-3, face-off in a sideshow for the losing semifinalists.
A slot in the Champions League remains the motivating factor for players to individually and collectively raise their performance levels.
Most of the players also join the common auction pool in IPL-4, so franchise owners and coaching staff will be watching successful players such as Purple Cap holder Pragyan Ojha.
It is likely that empty galleries may greet players when they step out into the D.Y. Patil stadium, so the buzz in the stands and an electrifying atmosphere will be missing on Saturday as captains Adam Gilchrist and Anil Kumble compete for the third spot.
Both these teams featured in the IPL-2 final last year in South Africa, so playing for IPL-3 placings shows how these two teams were overawed by the situation and got knocked out in the semifinals.
Gilchrist's swishes and misses at the crease, piloting Deccan Chargers' run chase against Chennai Super Kings, put the innings into a tailspin.
Kumble's courageous efforts with the ball in tandem with Kevin Pietersen were undone by the RCB's batsmen struggling to blast the ball against a focussed Mumbai Indians attack.
Seizing the moment
Winning in T20 cricket is all about seizing the moment, so looking ahead to the Champions League qualification is the best way out for the two teams.
It is difficult to fire up battered minds and tired bodies when the title race is over. Andrew Symonds, Ryan Harris, Pragyan Ojha and Harmeet Singh were exceptions for the enthusiasm displayed against CSK. The other DC players appeared to be in a daze in Thursday night's semifinal.
Gilchrist is going through a torrid time with the bat in IPL-3, and could do well to clear the clutter in his mind by viewing IPL footage of his previous knocks at this venue.
Rohit Sharma's electrifying slip catching in an earlier game revealed his state of mind, so it is high time he elevated his batting to an elite level.
RCB bowlers Praveen Kumar and Vinay Kumar get another tilt at batsmen before switching off from IPL and switching on for India in the T20 World Cup.
Rohit Sharma does not have Kieron Pollard's brutality, so both bowlers can breathe a little easier.
Symonds is the dangerman in the middle-order, very competitive and aggressive in body language.
The different nature of wickets at D.Y. Patil stadium will determine the respective teams' bowling line-up. RCB banks on pacemen Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis, besides Kumble attacking from one end.
DC draws its strength from movement off the seam, and slow bowlers such as Ojha and Symonds wait for batsmen to make mistakes.