On a slow, low pitch at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack, Deccan Chargers batted sensibly to post a challenging total of 170 after being invited to bat. Veteran pacer Chaminda Vaas then bowled a probing first spell, during which he claimed the important scalps of Kumar Sangakkara and Yuvraj Singh which all but put paid to Kings XI Punjab’s hopes of registering their first victory in the tournament. Vaas was well supported by the remaining bowlers as well.
Punjab, though, fought back as Irfan Pathan launched a marvellous late assault, slamming 60 from 29 balls. S. Sreesanth then hit three boundaries in the final over. But, it still wasn’t enough to see Punjab through as they fell short by a mere six runs in the end.
Coming back to Vaas, he brought all his experience into play to ensure that Punjab did not get off to a flyer in their chase. The slower delivery with which he cleaned up his Lankan team-mate and current skipper Kumar Sangakkara proved that there is still some fire left in him. As if he hadn’t made a strong enough point, he soon had Yuvraj Singh caught out.
Before the match, Punjab knew that for them to win Sangakkara and Yuvraj will have to play key roles. But, with Vaas consuming both of them, Punjab never recovered until the final flourish. The batting side did not help their cause as the in-form Manvinder Bisla was run-out early on following a mix-up with Ravi Bopara.
Punjab still had Mahela Jayawardene in their ranks, but the Deccan bowlers were on a roll and never allowed anyone to settle down. Andrew Symonds and Pragyan Ojha played their parts well Jayawardene and Adrian Barath respectively. All this while, Bopara was watching the carnage from the other end. He played some typical fluent strokes and reached 38.
But, with wickets tumbling, he had to go for the big shots and perished in the deep to Rohit Sharma. At 68 for 6, the match seemed out of grasp. However, credit to the ‘left-handed’ Pathan for almost pulling it off. The Baroda all-rounder played some breathtaking strokes, hitting five sixes in all to take his side to the brink.
Earlier in the day, Adam Gilchrist got his side off to a cracking start. He destroyed a wayward Sreesanth and dispatched him to all parts of the ground en route to his 12-ball stay of 33. Sreesanth’s performance was disappointing yet again for Punjab as he bowled length and gave ample room for Gilchrist to free his arms. As expected, the Deccan Chargers skipper did not miss out. It was eventually, the slow nature of the pitch that got the better of him, as he went for a half-hearted pull.
Gilchrist’s dismissal silenced the innings for a while. However, batting like a true pro, the bad boy of Australian cricket, Andrew Symonds notched up a half-century. Symonds got the measure of the slow pitch early in his innings and adjusted accordingly. It was his smart innings combined by useful contributions from Herschelle Gibbs and T Suman that helped Deccan post 170. And with Vaas in top form, they were able to successfully defend it.
No comments yet.