Chennai Super Kings 165 for 5 beat Deccan Chargers 146 for 8 by 19 runs
Man of the match: Albie Morkel
In a T20 game, a quick fire cameo can often make the difference between a win and a loss. And that’s exactly what happened on Sunday in the game between the Chennai Super Kings and the Deccan Chargers. Even as Deccan’s miserable fielding let them down badly, the Super Kings found their own hero in Albie Morkel to end with excellent figures of 3 for 38 to derail what once seemed a winning chase from the Deccan Chargers. However, more importantly, it was his effort with the bat that mattered. Morkel hasn’t been among the runs in this tournament, but on Sunday he slammed three consecutive sixes of Ishant Sharma in his total of 19 runs. The over produced 21 runs, but the importance of the knock can be gauged by the fact that the Super Kings won by exactly the same number of runs that Morkel scored i.e. 19.
It was Deccan’s game for the taking really, but they had no one to support Sunny Sohal, who slammed an amazing half century. His 30 ball knock was expectedly full of unnerving strokes that made the Super Kings bowlers suffer. But, deep down in their hearts, M S Dhoni’s men, as they have often done in the past, were aware that it was probably a matter of one wicket and the tables could well turn. Even when Sohal fell for 56, Deccan were in total command. They 95 off 79 balls with ample wickets in hand, but couldn’t manage it as Chennai built up the pressure and Deccan’s poor fielding effort eventually came back to haunt them.
Yes, this game will be remembered for Deccan’s outrageous fielding more than anything else. They had Chennai on the mat for most part of the innings with the ball, but when it came to catching and fielding it just wasn’t their day. Michael Hussey, who has had a number of lives in his tournament, got one more in his kitty and made good use of it. Suresh Raina got two in one game itself and celebrated it with a half century. Raina was on 25 when Harmeet Singh dropped him and eventually ended up amassing 59 off 35 balls before finally being caught. However, the horror was far from over for Deccan as Morkel took Sharma apart to give them a torrid time.
At the start of Deccan’s innings, it seemed Sohal’s bludgeoning would undo all their bad work. Braveness and good luck combined in equal measure for Sohal as Deccan raced away. Even when he was struggling he just closed his eyes and the ball hit the bat to land in some safe, fielder-less part. When not struggling, Sohal drove the ball through the off side, lofted it over covers and carted the spinners all over the park, basically whenever he wished too. He hit as many as four huge sixes in his knock, before eventually succumbing to his own impetuosity. Going for a third reverse heave, he failed and the ball crashed into the stumps. The game was still Deccan’s at 71 for 1, but Chennai were smarter from here.
Shadab Jakati and Suraj Randiv combined to dry the runs down and eventually Shikhar Dhawan lost his wicket as well as his patience. Deccan still held the better chance, but not for long. Morkel began to turn the game as a rising delivery was good enough get rid of Bharat Chipli’s wicket. Ashwin helped out by keeping the runs down. Kumar Sangakkara had no option but to trying something adventurous, but only lost his middle stump to Doug Bollinge. Cameron White struggled his way to 13 off 18 balls. J P Duminy did not get many, and soon the Deccan charge was over.
Rajasthan Royals 144 for 4 beat Pune Warriors 143 for 7 by six wickets
Man of the Match: Ross Taylor
Spinner Rahul Sharma came up with an excellent spell of 3 for 13, but it was not enough to stop Pune Warriors from succumbing to their six defeat in a row as Rajasthan Royals went to the top of the table. Sharma needed some support from his fellow and more experienced spinner Murali Kartik, but it wasn’t among the latter’s better days as he ended up with unsavoury figures of 0 for 41 and it was during his last spell that the game totally slipped away from the Warriors as Ross Taylor, with some good support from Ajinkya Rahane, took the Royals home rather easily in the end. While the win put Royals on top, the Warriors stayed at the bottom in the battle
It was anybody’s game heading into the last six overs. 52 runs were needed, believe it or not, Sharma came up with an incredible effort of a wicket maiden, that of the dangerous looking Ashok Menaria, who was just beginning to open up his shoulder. That over gave Warriors the upper hand, but as they have often done in the tournament, they handed back the advantage. Kartik conceded 17 runs in the next over as Taylor put away his loose deliveries with rather ease.
There were two short deliveries and one that did not pitch as Taylor helped himself to two fours and a maximum. That over changed the equation again, but unlike the Warriors the Royals did not give back the advantage. Alphonso Thomas and Jerome Taylor tried their best to keep Rajasthan down. But, Rahane picked a slower ball from Jerome Taylor and deposited into the point boundary while Taylor slashed Thomas into cow corner to dash all their faint hopes.
Like Deccan earlier in the day, the Warriors’ fielding came back to haunt them. Of course, they weren’t as bad, but had Nathan McCullum held on to a lofted stroke from Taylor off Thomas’ bowling, things might have been tighter. Of course, it was a tough chance as McCullum lunged full length in an effort to get the ball. He did manage to get there, but the momentum of his dive meant the ball slipped out and with it possibly the game as well.
Pune did not deserve to win per se as only Rahul Sharma stood up for them. They were poor with the bat and should have got a lot more. The top order failed with Jesse Ryder and Yuvraj Singh also not contributing much. Robin Uthappa was the only one who played a decent hand. He took on Shane Warne and succeeded briefly, but even at 40 plus, the legend had the last laugh. Uthappa both swept and reverse-swept Warne to get the battle underway. He then slogged the leggie over midwicket after a close appeal was turned down the ball before
Warne skidded one through that rapped Uthappa, but the umpire was unmoved. There was one more appeal in the over as Uthappa remained clueless, but survived again. Not for long though, as Warne changed ends, got one to rise slightly on Uthappa, who only ended up top edging it to the wicket-keeper. Not only the match, Warne had won the battle within the battle.
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