Chargers suffer another blow
The Deccan Chargers suffered another blow as the Kolkata Knight Riders beat them by five wickets in their Indian Premier League match at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Sunday.
It was a struggle for the Knight Riders, however, as they needed 19 overs to chase down their mediocre target of 127.
It was mainly thanks to their bowlers and fielders, who operated as a slick unit in restricting the Deccan Chargers to 126 for seven, that the Kolkata Knight Riders claimed victory.
The Chargers, having been sent in to bat after an hour-long rain delay, made a bright enough start as they reached 35 without loss after five overs. But they then seemed to bat well within themselves and the whole innings came to a near standstill as the Kolkata bowlers and fielders tightened their strangulating grip.
The Knight Riders bowling system worked a charm with all-rounders Yusuf Pathan (2-0-19-0) and Jacques Kallis (2-0-16-0) getting their combined share of overs out the way early. Brett Lee (4-0-15-1) bowled tightly up front and then brilliantly at the death, while spinner Sunil Narine (4-0-26-2) was just an absolute handful throughout. Medium-pacers Lakshmipathy Balaji (4-0-22-2) and Rajat Bhatia (4-0-26-1) bossed the non-powerplay overs.
Balaji showed that he is no mug with the ball as he cleaned up the great Kumar Sangakkara, bowling him middle stump for 12, but Shikhar Dhawan made a brisk start as he and Parthiv Patel added 44 in 5.4 overs for the second wicket.
Parthiv was run out for 23 by a top-class piece of boundary fielding by Kallis, while Dhawan lost momentum and completed a battling half-century before he pulled a full toss from Bhatia straight to cow-corner to be out for 50 off 50 balls.
Dhawan's dismissal meant the Chargers had slipped to 102 for four after 16 overs and they managed to add just 24 more runs in the last four overs, including just a four and a six. In fact, the whole innings featured just nine fours and two sixes.
JP Duminy ensured that Deccan weren't bowled out within the 20 overs as he finished on 16 not out off 15 balls, while Dale Steyn scored seven, that included a lovely straight six off Narine off the first ball of the final over.
The Barabati Stadium pitch is clearly not the easiest to bat on and, with Steyn, the most lethal fast bowler in the world, taking the new ball, the Chargers wanted early wickets to have a chance.
New Zealander Brendon McCullum is always a threat and Steyn claimed his wicket after he had scored 10, trapping him lbw with a slower ball that kept low.
Fellow opener Gautam Gambhir made a fluent 30 before his innings had a sad end as he lamely drove seamer Anand Rajan straight to mid-off.
Leggie Amit Mishra accounted for Maninder Bisla (10), bowling him with a beautiful top-spinner and there was more disappointment for the misfiring Yusuf Pathan as he hit impressive slow left-armer Ankit Sharma (4-0-19-1) for a massive six but then missed a swipe at the next delivery and was bowled.
Kallis, however, played an important innings for the Knight Riders, scoring a composed 23 at a run-a-ball to lift them from 72 for four.
Steyn, the best of the Deccan bowlers with 2-24, won the personal battle with countryman Kallis as he had him caught behind with a fine delivery in the 17th over, and there were a few anxious moments thereafter for the Knight Riders as Manoj Tiwary allowed the situation to get to him.
Tiwary was nearly run out as he wandered down the pitch to engage in some verbal jousting with Steyn, and the choice of some of his strokes left a lot to be desired. Nevertheless, he finished the job with his 30 not out as the Knight Riders joined the other leaders on eight points.
DECCAN CHARGERS - Ishank Jaggi, Shikhar Dhawan, Parthiv Patel (wk), Cameron White, Kumar Sangakkara (capt), JP Duminy, Anand Rajan, Ankit Sharma, Amit Mishra, Dale Steyn, Veer Pratap Singh.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS - Brendon McCullum, Gautam Gambhir (capt), Manvinder Bisla (wk), Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Rajat Bhatia, Debabrata Das, Sunil Narine, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Brett Lee.