Botha’s promotion a masterstroke

10 Apr 2011 by Raj in IPL 2011

Rajasthan Royals beat Deccan Chargers by 8 wickets

(Royals: 141/2), Chargers (137/8). Man of the match: Siddharth Trivedi

Deccan Chargers, led by Kumar Sangakkara, were clearly the more talented of the two sides, but Shane Warne and his brigade were cunning enough to help Rajasthan Royals outwit the Deccan charge. First, Siddharth Trivedi came up with a super effort of 3/15 from his allotted 4 overs and then Johan Botha, promoted to number three, cracked a sparkling half-century to lead Rajasthan to a royal win, with nine balls to spare and as many as eight wickets in hand.

Even as Botha was the star with the bat, it was undoubtedly Trivedi, who set up the victory charge as Deccan clearly struggled to come to terms with the pitch and conditions. They did get off to a great start though, with Shikhar Dhawan cracking 24 from 5 balls. However, once he perished going for a slog against Amit Singh, who also picked up three wickets, it was all downhill for the Chargers. Skipper Sangakkara fell caught behind off Trivedi, nicking the third ball he faced, for a duck. What Chargers needed at that stage was a partnership to steady the innings. But, that did not come as Bharat Chipli inside edged one, again off Trivedi.

The stagnant story continued for the Chargers as Warne brought himself into the attack. In spite of a year of being away from competitive cricket, Warne was effective as ever. He put opener Ishank Jaggi out of his misery, who had way to 25 off 28 balls, failing to give Chargers the momentum they were so keen for. For the home team to put up a competitive score from that point, they needed the now experienced Jean Paul Duminy to fire. However, the left-hander from South Africa struggled, exposing his limitations against quality spin bowling. As Warne cast a spell around him, Duminy had no answer for it and eventually perished to the legendary leggie.

Daniel Christian and Ravi Teja added a few crucial runs. Though they were not scored at lightning pace, the duo managed to propel the Chargers total to a sense of respectability. Still, 137 was never going to be enough unless the Chargers bowling came up with something exceptional. Instead, it were the Royals who came up with an extraordinary move, promotion Botha to number three, which made the big difference in the end.

Chargers did begin the pursuit of defending their total well, with Dale Steyn keeping things extremely tight. The run rate was under six for most part of the opening partnership, before Steyn was finally rewarded for his efforts – Amit Paunikar falling caught behind for 20. At the other end, Rahul Dravid also struggled, but to his credit he still scraped to 28 off 35 balls, a significant contribution in the context of the game. He also fell to the guile of Steyn, failing to read a slower ball.

Despite the loss of their openers, Royals were never under extreme pressure considering the small total and the number of wickets they possessed. Botha went about his task in a methodical manner, picking the singles and twos, but not failing to find the boundary whenever the opportunity presented itself. Ross Taylor came in a plundered a couple of big sixes to ease the nerves if there were any, and Botha finished off things in the penultimate over, the winning runs coming off the struggling Pragyan Ojha. Steyn aside, the bowlers let Chargers down with Amit Mishra and Ishant Sharma failing to rise to the occasion, but their batmen were the bigger culprits.

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