If ever there was an award for the worst IPL team performance, the Deccan Chargers would have won it hands down. 82 is all they got in the third place play-off against the upbeat Royal Challengers Bangalore at the D.Y. Patil stadium. Okay, this wasn’t the best surface for the batsmen – both the pacers and spinners extracted enough from the pitch to trouble Deccan’s batsmen.
The figures of Praveen Kumar (2/18) and Anil Kumble (4/16) amply reflected this. Still, this was by no stretch of the imagination an 82 all-out pitch, as proved by Anirudh Singh’s fluent 40. Bangalore too had their moments of trouble during the chase, with the ball stopping on the pitch regularly.
What went in their favour though was that they were completely devoid of pressure, owing to the partly total they were after and, in the end, they cruised home by 9 wickets.
Clearly, it was their accurate bowling performance combined with some unreasonable batting by the opposition that won it for Bangalore. Deccan lost their first five batsmen with a mere 35 on the board, and after a steady partnership of 43 between Anirudh Singh and Venugopal Rao, gifted their last five wickets for the addition of just four runs.
Yes, you heard it right. So swift was the collapse that even the Royal Challengers looked rather embarrassed at having done so exceedingly well.
When a team performs so miserably, it is but natural for them to be criticised. And, there will be plenty of it for Deccan for the manner in which they capitulated with the bat. It all went wrong for Adam Gilchrist and co right from the time they won the toss and elected to bat.
The skipper’s miseries in the tournament continued as he failed for one final time – this time a full toss from opposition skipper Kumble found its way into the lone fielder in the deep. While Gilchrist can be considered a tad unlucky, the shot selection from a few others was far from sane.
Monish Mishra was trapped in front for a duck trying to play across the line while Rohit Sharma gave some easy catching practice to mid-on, also without opening his account. The most disappointing of strokes came from the blade of Andrew Symonds.
He had just been dropped in the previous over by Dale Steyn, but instead of making Bangalore pay, he fell to the South African in the very next over, driving a ball that was too close to his body.
The only phase during which Deccan looked in some semblance of control was when Anirudh and Rao combined to add a few important runs. Both had their moments, hitting one six each of the spinners. However, once Jacques Kallis pegged back Anirudh’s off-stump, things took a drastic turn as Kumble joined Kallis in finishing off the innings in a flash.
A word of praise has to be reserved for left-arm spinner Nayan Doshi, who beat the batsmen in the air more than once and ended with impressive figures (1/17).
There really wasn’t much to do when the Challengers went into bat. Still, Rahul Dravid and Kevin Pietersen batted with authority to take their side home after losing Kallis for 19.
Dravid’s five fluently-timed boundaries and Pietersen’s two sixes were enough to kill Deccan’s hopes, if at all they had any. Overall, an utterly disappointing contest. But, for those seeking solace, be grateful this wasn’t the final.
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