Scorecard | Action in images | IPL-V
HYDERABAD: Whistle podu! Make sure you suck in a lung full of air and let it all out in one shrill burst. Although Chennai Super Kings had no active part to play in this match, they were unequivocally the biggest beneficiaries as Deccan Chargers pulled the rug from under the feet of Royal Challengers Bangalore for a nine-run win.
Bangalore’s loss meant they finished in fifth place on 17 points from 16 fixtures, on equal points with Chennai but with a poorer run-rate. Fourth-placed Chennai will now take on third-placed Mumbai Indians in the eliminator (a virtual quarterfinal), while Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders will face off in the ‘Qualifier 1’.
The winners of ‘Qualifier 1’ will progress to the final, while the losers will get another chance of making the title clash when they play the winners of the Chennai-Mumbai eliminator in what is virtually a semifinal. Chargers too gained something from their Saturday win. They ensured that they vacated their basement residence to Pune Warriors, who will finish at the bottom of the pile in IPL-V.
Chennai should take a moment to thank, with all their heart, Dale Steyn, who bowled superlatively for figures of 4-0-8-3 to stall Bangalore in what was ostensibly an empty match for the home team. Bangalore needed to win to assure themselves a berth in the last four, and when they restricted Chargers to 132 after electing to field, half the job appeared to have been done.
The win looked a formality when Chris Gayle galloped to a 10-ball 27 to begin the chase, but Steyn had other plans. He softened the West Indian with a deadly bouncer and then swung in a searing fuller delivery that Gayle bottom-edged on to the stumps, giving the paceman the first of his three wickets. In his next over Steyn brought another dizzyingly fast delivery to thwack into Tillakaratne Dilshan’s pads – to maximum effect.
Although skipper Virat Kohli (42) and Saurabh Tiwary (30) guided Bangalore back into contention with a 46-run partnership, the game swung back Chargers’ way when the firebrand hit Ashish Reddy straight to long-on. And when Steyn returned for his last over, conceding just one and firing in another yorker into Zaheer Khan’s furniture, Bangalore knew in their hearts that their IPL-V dreams – despite boasting the mammoth Gayle in their line-up – were over.
Challengers did everything right in the first innings. They elected to field and strangulated Chargers to an average total, which attained respectability only through J.P. Duminy (74), who hammered five sixes to offset the early sedateness of his colleagues.
Chargers struggled for the most part of the innings, losing their season top-scorer Shikhar Dhawan to Zaheer in the first over. Akshath Reddy was caught behind off Vinay Kumar and the dangerous Cameron White was deceived by left-arm paceman Prasanth Parameshwaran, leaving Chargers three down after the Powerplay with just 23 runs on the board.
Wickets kept tumbling before Parthiv Patel partnered Duminy for 71 in 7.4 overs in a stand dominated comprehensively by the South African. Duminy emerged from his stupor in the 16th over, carting Vinay for six over long-on. He then went after Muttiah Muralitharan, clobbering three maximums in an over that yielded 20. The South African holed out to long-on in the 19th over, but his effort - and countryman Steyn's later - worked to Bangalore's detriment, and Chennai's gain.