Chennai: Dale Steyn, the world's best fast bowler, has been Deccan Chargers' outstanding performer this season, but their only wins in 2012 have come when Steyn's had no impact, or worse: they left him out in their first success against Pune Warriors, and in the other victory, he had his poorest figures of the year - 4-0-46-0.
The other common factor in Chargers' wins have been the big-hitting of Cameron White, who shrugged off a year-long drought with a couple of powerful half-centuries. Chargers have now lifted themselves to five points, and one more triumph will see them cut the once yawning gap between them and at least two other teams at the bottom to a mere one point.
While Chargers have picked up four points from their previous three matches, their opponents on Friday, Chennai Super Kings, have just one point from their previous three. Their last victory came two weeks ago and had given them a share of the top spot, but they have since slid seven points behind the leaders. What has been particularly disappointing for Super Kings fans is that a team filled with match-winning batsmen has only managed to post a score in excess of 170 twice this season. Super Kings, though, have perfected the art of peaking at the right time in the season, winning two titles despite not having been the best team in the league phase. Their fans will hope that repeats this year as well.
Form guide (most recent first)
Chennai Super Kings: LLNrWW
Deccan Chargers: WLWNrL
Players to watch
Kumar Sangakkara's decision to drop himself for a match on Sunday prompted plenty of debate. He was back in charge of the side for the game against Warriors, and his spirited fist pump after reaching his half-century shows how much performing in this series matters to him.
For a side which has regularly found it difficult to put up big scores this season, Super Kings have utterly under-used Albie Morkel - he has only got 41 deliveries to face though he has played eight matches in 2012. Super Kings need to re-jig the order to give Morkel a little more time in the middle as they try to recapture the form of 2011.
Stats and trivia
MS Dhoni had a strike-rate of 158.70 in the IPL last season but this year, he's going at only 116.08. For more stats on Super Kings' batting, click here.
Amit Mishra had a solid IPL last year, but is struggling to match those performances this year. In 2011, he finished with 19 wickets at an economy-rate of 6.71; the corresponding figures this year are five at 7.91.
"Always said I'd rather go for 40 and win than bowl great and lose!"
Dale Steyn after the victory over Pune Warriors when he was taken for 46 runs
"We need to look at the personnel as well as this is the first time we've been challenged for form."
Stephen Fleming, the Super Kings coach, hints at changes to the line-up as his side looks to return to winning ways