If ever Rajasthan Royals wanted to assure themselves that they are still good enough to compete against the best despite the loss of their big guns, they only need to look at their performance today against defending champions Deccan Chargers.
Stating the game as perceptible underdogs, they ended up hammering the Chargers by eight wickets and made it a hat-trick of victories after the three setbacks at the beginning of the tournament. The stand out aspect of Rajasthan’s performance was the thoughtful manner in which they went about their task.
Things weren’t going to be easy once they lost the toss and were faced with the prospect of having to deal with a rampaging Adam Gilchrist. However, Shane Warne’s men stood up to the task on this day. The captain himself had some shrewd tactics up his sleeve, most of which worked wonderfully well for his side.
He opened the bowling with Sumit Narval, who responded with the massive wicket of Gilchrist in the very first over, the Deccan skipper wanted to make a statement at the outset, but only managed to lob one straight up in the air.
Following the poor start, Deccan were in desperate need of some runs from their experienced men, VVS Laxman and Herschelle Gibbs. The latter looked dangerous for a while, taking on Abhishek Jhunjunwala in one over and despatching him all over the park. But, if Warne’s one weapon had failed, it only forced him to dish out the next one in his armoury, a more lethal one named Shaun Tait.
Usually erratic, Tait was in his elements for a change, in sync with Warne’s script. Laxman failed to time a short ball and was sent back for 10. The skipper himself played a significant role with the ball. Rolling back the years, he forced a well-settled Gibbs to drag his feet to a ball that pitched on middle and left him, totally deceiving him in the air, and had him stumped. The Warne magic might be waning, but against the Proteas, he still seems quite a handful.
Gibbs went for 25, leaving the Chargers struggling at 58 for 3. Pretty soon all the hopes of a recovery died a volcanic death. Andrew Symonds (22) came up with a couple of delectable drives before running himself out, going for a non-existent run.
The ball had left the fielder’s (Jhunjhunwhala) hand when a hesitant Symonds went for the inexplicable. More hesitations followed which resulted in a couple more batsmen being stranded. Rohit Sharma was the common factor in all the dismissals, though he wasn’t the culprit on each occasion.
To his credit, at least he tried to bat sensibly and ended up as the innings’ top-scorer with 49. However, a total of 148 was never going to be enough unless Deccan had something exceptional up their sleeve.
On the contrary, Micheal Lumb and Yusuf Pathan provided the extraordinary stuff as Rajasthan cruised home. Lumb hit a hapless RP Singh cruelly for four consecutive fours. And after he was unfortunately run-out for 45, Pathan ensured that the dismissal was forgotten in a flash.
With eight mighty sixes, most of them off the spinners, he ended up unbeaten on 73 from 34 balls. The underdogs had done it again.
No comments yet.