Deccan hand Punjab an improbable win
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:Kings XI Punjab v Deccan Chargers
Player:Yuvraj Singh, KC Sangakkara, RR Powar, RP Singh, RG Sharma
Event:Indian Premier League 2009

DateLine: 17th May 2009


With as many as 43 runs required off the last three overs for Deccan Chargers to pull off an unlikely win, it looked like an impossible job, especially since Adam Gilchrist (23) and Andrew Symonds (25) were back at the dug out.


But there was a magician waiting to unleash again. Rohit Sharma (42), who hit a scintillating 26 off Mortaza's last over carrying his team to victory on Saturday night against Kolkata Knight Riders, almost repeated the feat again till a decent last over from Irfan Pathan sealed it in favour of Kings XI Punjab.


The margin though was no more than a run. With the win, Kings XI Punjab hang on in the tournament and still have an outside chance to make it to the final four. The result if anything has opened up the tournament.


But the game was much more than only the last three overs. Chasing a modest total of 135 to win, Deccan Chargers started in their usual fashion with skipper Gilchrist going after the bowling. Pathan came under the scanner first, giving away 18 runs in his first over. Yuvraj then played the master-stroke. Seeing that Gilchrist was having no trouble facing the seamers, he brought on Romesh Powar in the fifth over itself. The burly Powar struck big in his first two balls, first foxing Gilchrist by getting him stumped and then in the very next delivery Suman (0) played a ridiculous shot off a loopy off-spinner to lose his stumps.


Then Herschelle Gibbs and Symonds added a valuable 39 for the third wicket. Gibbs though again looked patchy and was never able to time the ball as well as he would have liked. Seeing that the duo was settling down Yuvraj played another trick by getting him on and what happened post that would be a fairy tale the Punjab skipper would never tire sharing with his grandchildren.


Off the last ball of Yuvraj's first over, Piyush Chawla threw himself in the air and plucked a beauty at point to send back Gibbs.


Then Yuvraj returned in the 14th over and the first two balls changed the course of the match dramatically. First, Symonds fell pray to a beauty of a leg-cutter. He was stumped after Sangakkara fumbled a bit and then in the next delivery Venugopal Rao left one alone which crashed on to his off-stump. With this Yuvraj Singh scalped his second hat-trick of the tournament and his spell of 4-0-13-3 proved to be match-winning.


After Yuvraj's over, it was all left again on the shoulders of young Sharma. How well did he take it up. He started from the place he left off on Saturday night. First Wilkin Mota was fired out of the park, taken for 18 runs in the 18th over. Then Brett Lee was hit for 14 runs in the next over to get the target within sniffing distance in the last over.


With 11 to win in the last over Pathan started off on a jittery note. His first two balls went for six runs and the third ball was a wide. This left Rohit Sharma with a fairly easy task of scoring four runs in four deliveries but here the batsman played a rather extravagant stroke and lost his stumps. With four to win off the last ball, the Chargers could only manage two, losing the game by a margin of one run.


Earlier Chargers, who had played and won a game just 15 hours back against KKR, surprisingly chose to field after winning the toss on a pitch which for the entire duration of their bowling looked to favour the spinners. The decision was justified by Gilchrist's bowlers who restricted Punjab to a meagre 134 for the loss of seven wickets. The only saving grace from Punjab came from the willow of their Sri Lankan recruit Kumar Sangakkara who scored a 56 off 43 deliveries.


Sunny Sohal (9) alongside Simon Katich (11) came in to open the batting for Punjab. The start was action-packed as in his usual swashbuckling mode Sohal hit Ryan Harris for a huge six in the first over itself. The bowler also bowled a couple of wides just showing a little bit of tiredness coming into the game in less than 24 hours.


Sohal's vigil on the pitch though was short-lived. Trying to get too adventurous, he paddle swept an RP Singh delivery and Rohit Sharma took a comfortable one at short fine-leg.


Luke Pomersbach (1) was the next to fall via a suicidal run out. In a deadly mix up with Katich, he was struck in the middle of the pitch with the ball in the hands of Gibbs. Though the batsman put in a dive, the ask to reach the crease was too much and he was found short. He was followed by Katich who again fell to a adventurous short, trying to squat a Andrew Symonds delivery pitched well outside the off stump over the mid-on fence only to find Ojha there.


Yuvraj (20) and Sangakkara then held fort for a little while and it must be said that Yuvi was looking good for his brief stay on the wicket. He hit a couple of lusty blows as well. But then his weakness of not being able to read a quick straighter one from an off-spinner led to his downfall. His stumps were rattled by Venugopal Rao and the Deccan team was ecstatic at this wicket.


Mota (12) and Sangakkara then added 53 runs for the fifth wicket but Mota was very slow and played with a strike rate of 63. Their partnership came up in a little over seven overs and it must be said that Mota could have done better to go after the bowling a bit earlier.


In walked Pathan and hit a couple of boundaries, but tight bowling in the 19th and 20th over from Ryan Harris and RP Singh ensured that the carnage the Chargers bowling went for against KKR was not repeated. RP not only bowled well in the slog overs, but also picked up a couple of wickets thereby surpassing Lasith Malinga for most number of wickets in the tournament thus far and is now the leader in the race for the purple cap.


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