From the publishers of THE HINDU

VOL.31 :: NO.20 :: May. 17, 2008

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CRICKET / IPL: RAJASTHAN ROYALS V DECCAN CHARGERS

Royals short-circuit Chargers

The Chargers, looking to achieve a level of fluency in batting, was put on course by Gilchrist, but as the first session of the DLF-IPL match was approaching the halfway stage, Warne dashed their hopes, writes G. Viswanath.

SANDEEP SAXENA

Yusuf Pathan... explosive innings.

Shane Warne’s first ball of the match teased and tricked a seasoned campaigner. The batsman’s downfall did not happen though. The master of craft and cunning tossed a genuine leg spinner and dragged Herschelle Gibbs forward. The ball turned across the face of the defensive blade and Gibbs was beaten hollow. Stumper Mahesh Rawat came into action, but the third umpire’s decision went in favour of the batsman. Warne’s delivery — that according to Adam Gilchrist turned two feet — was enough to put doubts in the minds of the Deccan Chargers and most importantly their captain. It was virtually the turning point of the match.

The Chargers, looking to achieve a level of fluency in batting, was put on course by Gilchrist, but as the first session of the DLF-IPL match was approaching the halfway stage, Warne dashed their hopes. Eventually, the Royals crushed its opponent by eight wickets.

A first ball wicket eluded Warne, but with the leg spinner’s advent and the eventful proceedings thereafter the match began to drift towards the Jaipur side. The Royals captain dismissed Shahid Afridi and showed a sharp eye and throwing arm to hit the target that cut short the presence of Rohit Sharma, the Chargers’ most successful batsman in the league. Finally he won an appeal from the umpire that sent back Ravi Teja. It was another stand- out performance from the Australian with wonderful figures of 4-0-20-2. Once Warne took charge, the Chargers’ run rate declined.

Gilchrist was the captain for the second time with Laxman ruled out due to injury. “Initially it looked a big score was possible, but later we realised we had to pull our target back a little. When Warne comes across and produces a little bit of magic it makes you reassess things. It needed to be 160 and as is always the case of wanting 20 runs more when you have lost the game.

It was around the 8th or 9th over mark I realised that the ball was not really coming quite as well and was keeping a bit low. This is not an excuse. Of course when you have the greatest leg spinner to have ever played the game coming along and spinning his first delivery a couple of feet the way he did, I realised then that the ball was going to turn a lot,” said Gilchrist.

The former Australian wicketkeeper, Gilchrist (61, 49b, 9x4, 1x6) produced a variety of shots and the runs rattled on the scoreboard. The home team enjoyed a bit of luck when Graeme Smith failed to latch on to a catch at cover when Gibbs decided to take on Munaf Patel. Then Gibbs fell a victim to a nick and thereafter Gilchrist himself followed suit. From 88 for one the Chargers slumped to 140. Warne had piled on the pressure after the fall of Sharma. “Our intensity was not high when they were 80 odd and we spilled a catch. So to drag back from that score to restrict them was a fantastic effort,” said Warne.

The Royals reached the target untroubled and in 16 overs. Smith and Yusuf Pathan (68, 37 balls, 9x4, 2x6) raised a century stand and the job was accomplished. It was the Royals’ sixth win in eight matches. “But you are only as good as your next match, not the last match. We need one more win to get one foot into the semifinals,” said Warne.

THE SCORES

Deccan Chargers v Rajasthan Royals, Sawai Man Singh Stadium, Jaipur, May 9, 2008.

Result: Rajasthan Royals won by eight wickets.

Deccan Chargers 140 for eight in 20 overs (A. Gilchrist 61, Y. Venugopal Rao 23 n.o., S. Warne 2-20) lost to Rajasthan Royals 141 for two in 16 overs (G. Smith 40, Y. Pathan 68).



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