Warne's wizardry flummoxes Deccan Chargers
by Jinu Sabastian

Ground:Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur
Scorecard:Deccan Chargers v Rajasthan Royals
Player:RP Singh, HS Bansal, SR Watson, RG Sharma, SK Warne
Event:Indian Premier League 2009/10

DateLine: 5th April 2010


Rajasthan Royals and Deccan Chargers posses record of contrast in Indian Premier League. Rajasthan Royals have not dropped a single match while defending after posting 150 in any of their matches while Deccan Chargers have one of the worst record in their home ground. Those records were briefly threatened in a pulsating encounter on the grounds of Nagpur before a Warne inspired Rajasthan Royals stages a brilliant comeback to snatch victory from the jaws of Deccan Chargers.


It was a no-brainer as Shane Warne elected to bat first on a pitch that had a tinge of grass. The first over of the match was not short of drama as in the fourth ball Lumb lobbed on gently towards the bowler Harris who after juggling thrice claimed that he had caught the ball. But after consulting the replays the third umpire deemed that the catch was not fair. Lumb celebrated his reprieve as he lashed out a couple of well timed boundaries and one walloped six over covers. It seemed that the momentum was with the Rajasthan Royals but RP Singh put brakes on the scoring.


Lumb (15, 10b, 1x6, 2x4) tried to lift RP Singh over midwicket but found Harris positioned perfectly at deep midwicket as Rajasthan lost their first wicket. In the very same over after a couple of deliveries the RP-Harris combo delivered once again for the Chargers as Ojha (1, 5b) lobbed one easily to Harris who was this time present at covers. At 17 for 2 the Rajasthan Royals found themselves on a slippery ground and they were well served by Fazal and Watson who looked to put the innings back on track.


Watson enjoyed a piece of luck as he was dropped by Harris in the deep and the burly Australian made full use of the escape. Watson thrice powered the ball over the boundary ropes and also collected three boundaries on his way to a stroke-filled 58 of 36 balls while Fazal (36, 29b, 4x4) after collecting two boundaries in a single Ojha over was done in by the greed as he holed out in the deep. The expectations of Rajasthan Royals rose as Pathan strode out into the ground but he was kept quiet by Deccan bowlers. Harris in particular kept the ball short and in the end Pathan (5, 7b) slapped a short delivery weakly to Laxman at short third man. Harmeet Singh, who was taken apart in his opening spell, and RP Singh, who rarely went past the 130 km per hour, bowled a tight line and length as the Royals simply fell apart.


Deccan Chargers have the highest average in the last five overs when they bowl as they give away 12.45 runs per over but today the Deccan bowlers did well as they took the final six wicket for just 31 runs. Rajasthan Royals in 19.5 overs scored a modest total of 159.


Deccan Chargers in reply got of to flier as Gilchrist tore into his one time Australian team-mate Shane Watson as the medium pacer leaked 20 runs in the second over of the innings. Aditya Dole making his debut in IPL stage kept his cool as he removed Laxman (6, 9b, 1x4) and Gilchrist (34, 17b, 2x6, 8x4) to give an edge to the Royals. Symonds (15, 20b, 2x4) never looked settled in the middle before being dismissed and the hopes of a Deccan win rested squarely on the shoulders of Rohit Sharma.


The young batsman from Mumbai has so far in his three years in international spotlight has delighted purists with strokeplay that could arouse pleasure but has frustrated in equal measure with inconsistency.


Shane Warne held himself back till the twelfth over and once he had the ball in hand he turned the clock back to his pomp years which was in the 1990's and 2000's. Though he was deposited by Sharma into the midwicket stand the former Australian leg-spinner slowly choked the life out of Deccan's chase. The inexperienced Anirudh Singh (9, 12, 1x4) was no match to the slider that had consumed many reputed batsmen before Dwayne Smith (4, 7b) slog swept a straighter one straight to the throat of Dole as the nerves began to appear in the Deccan camp.


Rohit Sharma meanwhile turned on the heat as he cut, lofted and drove Watson for three consecutive boundaries to bring down the required run-rate to a manageable proposition of seven runs. Warne then turned the match upside down as his flight perplexed Bilakhia (2, 4b) who chipped lamely to Raut at covers before cleaning up Harris (1, 2b) with a perfect leg break. Sharma collected 13 runs in th penultimate over bowled by Morkel which included a stunning straight hit as Deccan Chargers required 6 of 6 balls.


Trivedi was entrusted to bowl the last over and he delivered for his skipper. The lean medium pacer got rid of RP Singh (3, 5b) courtesy due to Morkel's splendid catch before a Harmeet Sigh was run-out. Chaos reigned in the center as the umpires had to take some time to decide the victim of run-out before Harmeet Singh was sent back to the hut. With three runs to win in two balls Rohit Sharma (73, 44b, 2x6, 8x4) went for the lofted cover-drive. But the slower ball from Trivedi deceived Sharma who ended up hitting the ball straight into the hands of Raut to set off delirious celebrations in the Rajasthan Royals camp.