Chennai : Deccan Chargers breathed life into their Indian Premier League campaign after drubbing Chennai Super Kings by seven wickets Tuesday night.
Deccan Chargers, who were languishing at the bottom of IPL standings despite having a formidable team, clinched their second win of the competition with stand-in-skipper Adam Gilchrist, leading in the absence of injured V.V.S. Laxman, playing a stellar knock of 54 runs.
The Super Kings, asked to bat first by Chargers, managed 144 for seven in 20 overs thanks to some big-hitting in the end. The Chargers, with Gilchrist belting a half-century (54, 38b, 2 x 6, 7 x 4), cruised home with two overs to spare.
The win also hotted up the competition in the inaugural IPL. The home team, which had sprung to the top of the IPL leaderboard with four straight wins, slid with three consecutive defeats – all of which came after its big foreign imports — Mathew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Jacob Oram – returned back.
Tuesday night belonged to the Hyderabad team which outplayed the opponents in every department.
Girlchrist, after losing his opening partner Herschelle Gibbs early, played his role to the hilt. He smashed the Super Kings bowlers, especially spearhead Makhaya Ntini, to all parts of the ground in a show of aggression that brooked no response.
On his exit, Rohit Sharma (23), Scott Styris (36 not out) and Shahid Afridi (20 not out) stepped up the pace to deliver a long-awaited victory for the Chargers.
In fact, Afridi, who came in at the fall of Sharma’s wicket, provided a fitting finale to the game by hitting Joginder Sharma for 20 runs to bring about a swift end to the proceedings.
The Super Kings bowlers toiled in vain trying to contain the marauding Chargers, but with Gilchrist leading the strike, the home attack appeared rather pedestrian.
Earlier, tail-enders rescued Chennai Super Kings from yet another disaster as some towering sixes in the final overs helped the home team post a total of 144 for seven.
Super Kings were straightaway under pressure, losing early wickets and then just about managing to post a fighting total.
Super Kings were yet again off to a bad start. Parthiv Patel, having survived a caught-and-bowled chance off the fifth delivery of the first over bowled by Vijay Kumar, top-edged the next ball attempting a hook and R.P. Singh, running from fine-leg took a brilliant catch.
The early dismissal pushed the Suepr Kings batsmen on the backfoot as they struggled to work the ball off the square.
Worse was to follow as debutant Anirudha Srikkanth top-edged R.P. Singh to Afridi in the covers and then Rohit Sharma held a brilliant catch to get rid of Stephen Fleming who never quite looked comfortable and drove Scott Styris uppishly to covers.
Super Kings suffered yet another setback soon after as Herschelle Gibbs at short third-man went airborne to catch S. Badrinath’s off-glide and the home team tottered at 43 for four after 6.5 overs.
The stage was thus set for skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (23) to retrieve the situation in the company of Suresh Raina (32) who held his end up with a few well-placed shots to boundaries.
But overall, the Chargers kept it tight and runs came mostly in singles. In fact, the Super Kings could add just 39 runs in the next seven overs before Raina departed, offering a tame catch to Rohit Sharma off Sanjay Bangar as he tried to break the shackles.
In the next over, Dhoni top-edged an attempted sweep off left-arm spinner Pragyan Ohja and Afridi made no mistake with the lobbed catch at backward of point.
Albie Morkel (29 not out) and Joginder Sharma (16) then added 38 runs in 23 balls aided by some big-hitting to boost the Super Kings total.
After Joginder left, clean bowled by R.P. Singh, it was Manpreet Gony (15 not out) who slammed a couple of sixes as the Super Kings picked up 37 runs in the last three overs to give themselves a fighting chance.