For Deccan opponents,improbable is nothing

Chargers fail to defend yet another big total as captain Hussey,youngster Mann give Punjab two crucial points

Written by Nitin Sharma | Mohali | Published:May 14, 2012 1:29 am

The Deccan Chargers failed to defend their fourth 185-plus score of IPL 5,as they allowed Kings XI Punjab to a last-ball win at Mohali on Sunday. Despite the two points,Punjab remained sixth in the table,but with just a single point separating four sides between slots three and six,qualification is still a possibility.

It is an edition that has seen the Chargers find ways to lose,and this match was no exception. After having been in relative control for 31 of the 40 overs in match,they slipped at the end and that proved to be the difference. After having made 190 batting first,Dan Christian’s early strikes meant Punjab still needed 108 from 54 balls,of which Dale Steyn could send down 12. Despite the South African picking up two wickets for not too many in the two overs he subsequently sent down,David Hussey (65 off 35 balls) and Gurkeerat Mann (29 off 12) ensured they made enough off the other bowlers for the last-gasp win.

Batting first,it was the usual suspects that clicked for the Chargers. Shikhar Dhawan smashed his third fifty in four matches,making 71 off 50 balls,and in the company of another of his team’s stand-out player Cameron White (67,41 balls),added 96 for the third wicket. Even after Dhawan’s dismissal,White,who scored his fifth half-century in eight innings,ensured there was no let up in the scoring,as he took his side to 190.

Steyn gives hope

Christian then returned with the ball to dismiss Nitin Saini and Shaun Marsh within the fifth over and Amit Mishra had the dangerous Azhar Mahmood stumped in the 13th over with Punjab still 91 away. Hussey was at one end and swinging hard,but it looked like he would run out of support as Steyn sent Sidharth Chitnis and Piyush Chawla back in the same over,the 17th of the chase. When 19-year old Gurkeerat walked out to join his captain,the side needed 42 runs of 20 balls.

If the youngster’s brief was to take a single and turn the strike over,he had other ideas in mind. After drilling Christian for a straight four in the 18th over,he made room to carve Steyn for a crucial boundary in the last ball of the next. The equation had come down to 16 off six,but Hussey could just make three of the first two balls of the last over leaving it to the youngster to go big. The youngster responded in superb style,crashing Manpreet Gony for a six and two fours in the next four deliveries to condemn Chargers to yet another defeat,while keeping his team’s hopes afloat.

Brief scores: Deccan 190/4 (S Dhawan 71,C White 67*; A Mahmood 2/39) lost to Punjab 194/6 (D Hussey 65*,Gurkeerat Singh 29*; D Steyn 2/26) by 4 wickets

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