Both are smarting from defeats in previous matches, but Shane Warne the tactician will give Rajasthan Royals the edge over Adam Gilchrist’s Deccan Chargers when the two sides take on each other in an Indian Premier League match on Monday.
Warne and Gilchrist, two men who never got along while playing together for Australia, face-off as rival skippers for the second time in IPL as the race for the semi-finals heats up.
Warne had the last laugh in the previous encounter and Gilchrist would be eager to get even with the man with whom he shared one of the most successful partnerships as a wicketkeeper for Australia but could never get along beyond that.
In fact, the Warne-Gilchrist rivalry adds a different dimension to the contest between two sides, evenly matched as far as batting is concerned.
For Deccan, Andrew Symonds has made a late entry to the team and has made a brilliant start, scoring a 36-ball 60 in the match against Kings XI Punjab.
Gilchrist, himself, has been in a good touch and Herschelle Gibbs hasn’t done too bad either. Add to this, Rohit Sharma’s consistency and Deccan’s line-up looks formidable.
But Rajasthan’s batting is no less with openers Naman Ojha and Graeme Smith in fine form.
In Yusuf Pathan, Rajasthan has the aggressor who can change the course of a match. Warne, himself, is no novice with the bat.
It is the bowling, perhaps, which gives Rajasthan the slight edge.
Pacer Amit Singh — reported for suspect action but allowed to play until the IPL technical committee decides on his fate — has wrecked havoc whenever he has been given the ball.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja is also among the wickets and adding to the team’s bowling strength is the captain-cum-coach Warne himself.
In contrast, pace spearhead R P Singh has not been too consistent for Deccan.
The part-time spin of Rohit and Symonds cannot be relied upon to win matches, especially the close games, as was proved in the last-over loss to Kings XI Punjab, even though Gilchrist insists that bowling is not a concern.
That Gilchrist is an inspiring leader cannot be doubted considering the way he has turned Deccan into a competitive team after last season’s flop show but Warne’s ability to surprise the opposition will give him the edge in Monday’s match.