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Deccan Chargers

They tried to fly like Superman but crash-landed in the first season. They returned for the second edition as Clark Kent and won the tournament. On the cusp of what could be an interesting third season, the question arises: Will the real Deccan Chargers please stand up?

After the overconfidence of the first year, they realised the importance of the local Indian players doing well and the leadership of Darren Lehmann and Adam Gilchrist ensured that that objective was met in style. The likes of Rohit Sharma, Venugopal Rao and T Suman formed the core of the middle order and offered tremendous value as spinners. And they can continue to depend on Pragyan Ojha, who shone in the last edition with his control and discipline. Even the younger Indian players like Monish Mishra and Rahul Sharma have impressed Gilchrist.

In fact the Indian players are not the problem areas this year; the season hinges on the performance of the foreign players and their ability to adapt to Indian conditions. Can Herschelle Gibbs get back into form? Will Gilchrist himself, being out of cricket for long, have any problem getting into the groove? What is Andrew Symonds' state of mind? If all the above are positive, Deccan have Mitchell Marsh, Ryan Harris, Dwayne Smith, and Kemar Roach who can turn out to be key performers.

The buzz

The main buzz revolved around the games being taken away from the home venue Hyderabad following sporadic violence surrounding the separatist Telangana movement. It may not, however, be a bad thing for the home team - they have not won a single match in the IPL or Champions League on home turf (last year's games were in South Africa).

New faces

Deccan have signed up the upcoming talented batsman Mitchell Marsh, younger brother of Australian opener Shaun, and Kemar Roach as a replacement for fellow West Indian fast bowler Fidel Edwards. Roach impressed the world with his performances in Australia, particularly in his duel with Ricky Ponting. He has the pace of Edwards without the latter's erratic streak. Marsh is an interesting pick and he could very well take Gibbs' spot if the latter continues to not perform.

Watch out for

Andrew Symonds. The world knows what he can do on a cricket field even if at times he forgets it himself. In Indian conditions, he can be a real powerhouse with his off spin or medium pace and with his explosive batting and fielding. The IPL is the only arena where much of the cricketing world will get to see him perform and it should make for a fascinating viewing experience.

Missing in action
Edwards, who sparkled in the early rounds of last year's tournament, is the only big casualty but he has been replaced by the talented Roach.

Their batting is stronger than the bowling and can be potentially very explosive with the presence of Gilchrist, Symonds, Rohit Sharma and Smith.

The bowlers. RP Singh, who was the purple-cap holder last year with 23 wickets, usually struggles in Indian conditions. It has to be seen how Harris and Roach adapt to the conditions. And perhaps there is too much of a burden on the irregular spinners Rohit and Rao. Only time will tell.

Mitchell Marsh. He is a powerful batsman who has captained the Australian Under-19 team to the World Cup triumph recently. Gilchrist rates him highly and it won't be surprising if he replaces Gibbs straightaway.

IPL 2009 - The key figures

Final position: Winners
Top scorer: Gilchrist with 495 runs at 30.93
Top wicket-taker: RP Singh with 23 wickets at 18.13 and economy-rate of 6.50
Best result: The crushing eight-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders was the best though the crushing six-wicket win over Delhi in the semi-final will be more memorable for the brutal innings by Gilchrist. Worst result: 78-run loss to Chennai Super Kings
Highest team score: 184 for 6 v Bangalore
Lowest team score: 100 v Chennai

Prediction for 2010
They should make the semi-finals

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