Posted by Gareth Parry Added on: April 17 2012
Rajasthan Royals 197 for 5 (Hodge 48*, Mishra 3-32) beat Deccan Chargers 196 for 2 (Duminy 58*, Dhawan 52) by five wickets
The Deccan Charges have had almost a week off since their traumatic loss to the Mumbai Indians. They will not have relished the prospect of facing the tournaments in form batting line up given the struggles of their bowlers in their previous defeats.
The rest seemed to have done the Deccan Chargers the power of good and when Sangakkara won the toss their batsmen went about posting a formidable total. The Deccan Chargers finished on 196 from their twenty overs; with this score being a combination of good batting and poor bowling.
Deccan opened with two left handers, Sangakkara and Dhawan, and this opening pair put on an opening stand of 94 runs before Sangakkara was dismissed in the 11th over. They profited from wayward bowling from the Rajasthan seamers who all bowled much too straight. The Deccan batsmen manoeuvred the ball around with ease and were able to pick up regular boundaries when the bowlers line strayed onto their pads.
Sangakkara was in sublime touch; looking untroubled against both pace and spin bowlers. He used his feet to disrupt the Rajasthan spinners lengths, driving them down the ground and then punishing anything short. With a platform of 83 without loss at the halfway stage Sangakkara signalled the change of intent with a 4 and a 6 driven straight down the ground off Brad Hodge. This aggressive move however cost Sangakkara his wicket as he top edged the next ball of Hodge's over to the wicket keeper. Having scored 44 runs from 32 balls, the Deccan captain had set a platform for the team to post a big score.
With Sangakkara out, Dhawan looked to take on the role of the aggressor but was restricted by the Rajasthan spinners with Botha and Hogg going for only a run a ball in the next two overs. When Trivedi came back into the attack; Dhawan went after the pace man but fell first ball, being caught in the deep by Brad Hodge. Dhawan had scored 52 from 43 balls but he will regret not going on to get a bigger score.
Dan Christian and JP Duminy were the Deccan batsmen at the crease. With both men having only faced a few deliveries they chose to consolidate the Deccan innings taking their side to 119 for 2 with only 5 overs left. At this stage Rajasthan will have hoped to restrict Deccan to around 160.
To restrict Deccan to 160 would have required the Rajasthan seamers to bowl at their best and they fell well short of that standard. Duminy and Christian were able to profit from some horrible death bowling and took 77 runs from these last 5 overs. Duminy was the most impressive of the two Deccan batsmen scoring 58 runs from 26 deliveries, a strike rate of 223. He used his feet effectively and was able to drive the bowlers down the ground at will. Even more impressive is that Duminy only scored 8 runs from the first 9 balls he faced meaning he scored 50 runs from his last 17 deliveries.
Going into the second innings the Deccan Chargers were firm favourites. When Rajasthan chased down the total with a couple of balls to spare two things were apparent. Firstly, whilst a weeks rest may suit batsmen; it had not helped the Deccan bowlers who all looked below their best. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Deccan are a team who did not look like they had gotten over the Mumbai Indians smash and grab victory in their last match and they looked beaten long before the winning runs had been struck for Rajasthan.
The Rajasthan openers are one of the most successful opening pairs in IPL cricket and they continued in that vein today with another opening stand of more than 50. They also brought up the fastest team 50 of this seasons IPL, reaching that milestone in just 4.5 overs. The performance of the Deccan opening bowlers showed that, although the Rajasthan seamers bowled poorly, this was a true batting surface which offered little to the pace men. Dravid and Rahane both looked in excellent form; both using there feet well and driving down the ground with success.
Dravid played in free flowing manner; a stark contrast to the style of cricket that brought him 'The Wall' as his nickname. When he was bowled by Dan Christian in the 7th over he had scored 42 from just 24 balls and set his side on the way to victory.
Menaria joined Rahane at the wicket with Rahane continuing to play serenely as he reached 300 runs scored in this years IPL. The pick of his shots were a selection of in to out drives over cover. Menaria on the other had struggled and though he hit a few nice blows in his innings it may have been a blessing in disguise for the Royals when he fell to Mishra in the 12th over.
Amit Mishra was the only Deccan bowler to threaten the Rajasthan batsmen; bowling all four of his over consecutively. He claimed the wickets of Rahane and Shah, who are currently the two leading run getters in IPL 2012. When he finished 4-0-32-3 at the end of the 16th over Rajasthan required 55 runs from the last four. Deccan must surely have thought they were home and would be able to put the disastrous performance against Mumbai behind them.
They had discounted the talent of Brad Hodge; who again became the leading Twenty20 run scorer today. This statistic highlights the quality he brings to the Rajasthan middle order and it took every ounce of his ability to win the game for the Royals. He set it up by taking four consecutive boundaries off Dale Steyn in the 17th over to leave 38 required from 3.
The Deccan Chargers were rattled and nothing better exemplified this than Chipli dropping an easy chance off the first ball of the 18th over and conceding 3 runs in the process. The man he dropped was Botha who went on to score a 6 four balls later. The Royals only need 25 from the last 2.
Sangakkara was criticised for using Steyn to bowl the penultimate over against Mumbai and that must have resonated with the Deccan captain as he asked Rajan to bowl the 19th over and held Steyn back for the last. When Botha holed out to the first ball of the 19th the decision seemed to be vindicated. Hodge, however, was too good for Rajan and his movement in the crease had Rajan having no idea where to bowl. Hodge took full advantage; taking a 4 and flat batted 6 to leave Steyn defending 11 from the final over.
Although it was Hodge who set the win up, it fell to the Rajasthan wicket keeper Yagnik to score the winning runs. Having restricted Rajasthan to 3 from the first two balls of the 20th over the pressure was on Yagnik, who had only found out he was playing 15 minutes before the toss. Yagnik was more than up to the task hitting consecutive 4s to take Rajasthan to victory and pile further misery on the Deccan Chargers as they conspired to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for the second time in as many matches.