Rajasthan Royals 111 for 2 beat Kochi Tuskers Kerala 109 by eight wickets
Man of the match: Shane Warne
Shane Warne continued to mesmerise and, on Sunday, it was his spell of 3 for 16 that ensured the Rajasthan Royals returned to their winning ways against the so far impressive Kochi Tuskers Kerala. The Aussie spin wizard got the key wickets of Brad Hogde and broke a fighting partnership between Parthiv Patel and Ravindra Jadeja, claiming both, to restrict the Kochi Tuskers to a well below par score of 109. And chasing it, the Rajasthan Royals had little trouble as Rahul Dravid and Shane Watson put on an assured 71 run opening stand before Dravid ran himself out uncharacteristically for a well complied 44, when he looked got for a lot more than that.
The match, essentially though, was about Rajasthan’s excellent bowling effort and Kochi’s poor batting stint. In the home conditions that favoured slow bowlers, Rajasthan’s spinners shone. South African Johan Botha, who was returning from an injury, took out Mahela Jayawardene with the first ball of his comeback game. Botha turned a delivery right across Jayawardene, and the ball hit the thigh pad before deflecting off to the stumps. VVS Laxman, who was replacing the injured and, more importantly, in form Brendon McCullum, got run out to get Kochi off to the worst possible start.
The Warne show then took over. Hodge fell to one from Warne that did not rise as much as he anticipated. The Kochi innings was in complete disarray until Jadeja and Patel joined forces. Warne welcomed Jadeja with a bouncer, but to his credit, the former Rajasthan batsman did not try anything fancy. The duo did well to steady the ship. Importantly, they did not take any risks against Warne, Watson and Botha and reserved the big strokes for the lesser known Indian first class bowlers. However, with time and overs running out they were forced to take on Warne, and this is where Kochi plummeted into further trouble.
Jadeja once tried to loft Warne, but did not succeed in his endeavour. Frustrated, he reverted to his favourite slog sweep, only for the ball to take the top edge of the bat and give Warne a simple caught and bowled. The master had done the trick again. But, he wasn’t finished yet. The very next ball, Patel, indifferent to the fact that he had lost his well-set partner, went for a horrendous reverse sweep, which only saw him get clean bowled. In a moment of madness, all the hard work done by Patel was undone. There was no comeback point for Kochi from there as no capable batsman was left in the wings. The innings soon folded up for 109, with Siddharth Trivedi helping himself to three wickets.
For Kochi to have a semblance of a change, they needed a spectacular start. Instead, Watson it was to thrashed the first ball of the chase to the cover boundary, and there was just no looking back. With no pressure of scoring at a particularly high rate, Dravid went about his task in a brisk but risk free manner. He drove and cut with ease before depositing Jadeja into the stands for the first six of the game. Unfortunately, he ran himself out needlessly, but by then the game was all but done and dusted with.
Mumbai Indians 172 for 4 beat Deccan Chargers 135 for 8 by 37 runs
Man of the match: Lasith Malinga
The Mumbai Indians recovered splendidly after losing three wickets without the addition of any run to club the hapless Deccan Chargers by 37 runs in Sunday’s second match. Finding themselves in trouble at 70 for 4, having lost Sachin Tendulkar, Ambati Rayudu and Kieron Pollard all on the same score, Mumbai found their heroes in Rohit Sharma and Andrew Symonds yet again. The two featured in a game changing partnership of 102 that came of just 65 balls to make Deccan suffer another taste of defeat. This was made possible thanks to yet another toe crushing effort by Lasith Malinga, who ended with exceptional figures of 3 for 9 as well as the man of the match award as Deccan Chargers crashed to 135 for 8 chasing a target of 173.
Mumbai Indians’ innings was chiefly about two partnerships, the major one being that of Symonds and Sharma. At 70 for 4 and three of their big guns gone, Mumbai needed to consolidate and they did so with the partnership between the two Ss. The best and most crucial feature of their partnership was the fact that they bid their time when needed, but when they blossomed they did so without any inhibitions. 40 runs came in the last two overs as Sharma and Symonds took the Deccan bowlers to task. Symonds started the boundary hitting show by slamming Dale Steyn pacy deliveries at an equally fast pace for two fours and a six in the 19th over. Sharma went one step ahead in the final over, hoicking Daniel Christian for three massive sixes and adding a four as Mumbai raised themselves from a troubled situation to post a challenging total.
The total was doubly difficult to chase as Malinga was in his elements once again, not only with the ball, but in the field as well. A customary yorker first took care of Shikhar Dhawan, who honestly, was out for no fault of his. More pedigreed batsmen have failed to keep the slinger’s toe crushers from destroying the stumps. Cameron White struggled during his stay at the crease. And, with the big hit not coming, he lost his cool and going for an non existent single was beaten by a throw from, guess who, Malinga! The Lankan’s bowlers former skipper Kumar Sangakkara battled on valiantly before Malinga was successful in uprooting his stumps too with a low full toss after the former had managed to gather 34. The chase was as good as over when Davy Jacobs stumped Daniel Christian while standing up to Munaf Patel. Dan Christian struck a few customary big hits, but even before he was stumped off Munaf Patel for 21, the game was well in Mumbai Indians’ grasp.
The only time Deccan where in the game was when they got those three wickets at the score of 70. This was after Sachin Tendukar and Davy Jacobs had combined to get Mumbai off to a decent start. Following Jacobs’ exit for an enterprising 32, the Mumbai Indians were comfortably placed at 70 for one at the time of the strategic time out. The introduction of spin, however, turned things around completely. Tendulkar perished trying to clear Amit Mishra, but only managed to sky one to Dale Steyn at long on. Two balls later, Ambati Rayudu also fell, finding the fielder in the deep as 70 for 1 soon became 70 for 3. And to make matter worse, Kieron Pollard went for a paddle sweep which only lobbed up in the air and presented a simple chance to Sangakkara.
Deccan had a great chance to build up the pressure, but Symonds and Sharma knew better how to deal with the pressure. And once the partnership flourished and Malinga got his act right again, Deccan were always going to come second best.
Sehwag Warner show destroyed Punjab
Delhi Daredevils 231 for 3 beat Kings XI Punjab 202 for 6 by 29 runs
Man of the match: David Warner
Delhi Daredevils finally got their act right as Virender Sehwag and David Warner slammed 77 each to hoist their side to an improbable T20 total of 231 before Kings XI Punjab fought back equally valiantly thanks to wonderful knocks by Adam Gilchrist and Shaun Marsh, but just had a little too much to do and fell short of the target by 29 runs. As the scorecard suggests, the game was essentially about which team was poorer of the two bowling outfits as the both the teams crossed 200 with the bat. The final result proved that the Daredevils were just a tad better that the Kings XI Punjab bowlers. But, that wasn’t what set up the game for the Daredevils. It was the blistering partnership between Warner and Sehwag that did.
Sehwag and Warner added 146 for the opening wicket in less than 12 overs. The ball was coming onto the bat for a change and both Warner and Sehwag enjoyed it. Sehwag slammed a magnificent 77 off just 35 balls, falling after slamming three consecutive sixes off David Hussey over. As expected, he perished going for the forth. At the other end, Warner was slightly more sedate but only in comparison to Sehwag. Warner got most of the strike early on and made best use of it, cutting, pulling and driving everyone with ease. Praveen Kumar, Ryan Harris and Shalabh Srivastava, all were taken to the cleaners by Warner as Punjab looked helpless.
The show wasn’t over even when the two departed for the same score of 77. Venugopal Rao and Naman Ojha combined forced to loot 47 off the last three overs, as Harris was literally pulling his hair out. Delhi ended up with a massive 231 for 3, their highest in the IPL and third overall highest score. Punjab needed something special to pull this off.
Delhi were poor in the field dropping both the dangerous openers, but they still managed to cling on. Irfan Pathan got Paul Valthaty early, and with the pressure mounting, Gilchrist perished being forced to slog Varun Aaron, playing his first game. Marsh played an exceptional knock of 95 from 46 balls. It was worthy of a match-winning effort, but wasn’t too be as, on the day, the combined efforts of Warner Sehwag outshone Marsh’s solitary brilliance.