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Rediff.com  » Sports » Punjab edge past Deccan

Punjab edge past Deccan

By Harish Kotian
Last updated on: May 09, 2009 19:51 IST
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Andrew Symond's blazing half-century went in vain as Kings XI Punjab pipped Deccan Chargers by three wickets in the Indian Premier League in Kimberley on Saturday.

Chasing 169 for victory, Punjab sneaked home in a close finish with just one delivery to spare. Their magnificent run chase was set up by a scintillating 28-ball 43 from Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene.

With this victory, Punjab moved up a spot to fifth in the standings with 10 points from as many games. Deccan stay fourth with the same number of points, courtesy better net run rate with a game in hand.

Earlier, Symonds, playing his first match in IPL 2, smashed 60 not out from just 36 deliveries, inclusive of four sixes and two boundaries.

Deccan:

With the Australian players available, both teams made sure they included them in their line-up. Punjab, who elected to field, dropped their top bowler Yusuf Abdulla and drafted Brett Lee in his place. On the other hand, Deccan had no hesitation in replacing Dwayne Smith with their most expensive player Andrew Symonds.

It was Brett Lee against his former team-mate Adam Gilchrist in the opening over. The left-hander drew first blood when he smashed Lee for a cracking boundary through the off-side to get off the mark.

Adam Gilchrist then slammed another couple of boundaries off Irfan Pathan in the next over, the second one courtesy of Piyush Chawla's misfielding.

S Sreesanth was welcome to the crease with a huge six over square leg by Gilchrist. But it was the India pacer, who had the last laugh when he dismissed Gilchrist caught at the fine leg boundary for a quick 20 from 16 deliveries. (31-1, 3.4)

T Suman looked to continue with momentum as he looked to take on the bowlers from the moment he arrived. Pathan suffered when the Deccan right-hander flicked him and handsome over the midwicket fence for a six as they raced to 44 for one in five overs.

Piyush Chawla made an immediate impact when he claimed the big wicket of Herschelle Gibbs in his first over. The South African opener, who made 13 from as many deliveries, tried to hit Chawla but his uppish drive was neatly held by Mahela Jayawardene at point. (53-2, 6.3)

But there was no keeping Suman quiet as he slammed Chawla for a straight six in the ninth over.

Part-timer Wilkin Mota was introduced ahead of off-spinner Ramesh Powar and the move paid off. Suman looking to take on the bowlers smashed Mota straight to Jayawardene on the square leg boundary for a quick 27 off 17 deliveries. (70-3, 9.2)

Lee then dealt Deccan another big blow when he struck with the wicket of Rohit Sharma in the 11th over. Sharma (9 from 15 deliveries) was deceived by a slow bouncer from Lee, which nicked his gloves and was caught by the wicketkeeper down the leg side. (73-4, 10.4)

Punjab had managed to pull things back quite well with two wickets in the space of two overs, while giving away just three runs.

The first four overs after the strategic time out fetched just 17 runs. But Andrew Symonds then changed the script as he cut loose with four sixes in the space of four overs.

Sreesanth once again suffered at the hands of an Australian batsman. Symonds ripped him apart with two sixes and a boundary to score 20 runs from the 17th over as Sreesanth resorted to bowling full length deliveries. Punjab were suddenly feeling the pressure as 44 runs came off three overs as Deccan reached 133 for four.

Symonds raced to his half-century off just 28 deliveries, having hit two boundaries and four huge sixes.

Venugopal Rao also joined the party when he scored a six and boundary off Mota's final over. Interestingly, before that Mota had dream figures of one for seven in three overs, before Rao smashed 17 in the 18th over to ruin his day.

Pathan and Lee managed to keep things tight in the final two overs as no boundaries were struck. Rao was run out off the final delivery of the innings for 32 from 25 deliveries, inclusive of two sixes and a boundary, as Deccan posted a healthy 168 for five in their 20 overs.

Symonds was unbeaten on a cracking 60 from just 36 deliveries, having bludgeoned four sixes and two boundaries.

For the third match in a row, Punjab bowlers had failed to rise to the occasion and their batsmen were now faced with another tough task.

Punjab:

Sunny Sohal came out all guns firing smashing RP Singh for consecutive boundaries in the second over before repeating the dose on Ryan Harris two overs later as Punjab raced to 40 from the first four overs.

Adam Gilchrist then brought in Rohit Sharma and Deccan's golden arm responded in style with two wickets in his opening over.

First, Sohal hit the part-time spinner straight to Rao at long-off to be dismissed for a quick 30 from 17 deliveries that included four boundaries and a six. (41-1, 4.3)

Simon Katich followed his partner to the pavilion two balls later. The left-hander, who made 9, also made the mistake of hitting it straight down the ground where Rao at mid-on took his second catch. (42-2, 4.5)

Deccan took control with tight overs after the double strike till Yuvraj Singh broke the shackles in the ninth over.

Symonds' introduction to the bowling crease was not as smashing as his batting. Yuvraj despatched his first delivery straight down the ground for a six and Kumar Sangakkara followed it up with another six and boundary as Punjab raced to 80 for two after nine overs.

But medium pacer Shoaib Maqsusi then brought about another turning point in the game with the wickets of Sangakkara and Yuvraj in his second over.

Sangakkara went across his stumps and tried a cheeky paddle sweep, but hit it straight into his stumps after scoring 25 from 18 deliveries. (85-3, 9.4)

Then Punjab's hopes suffered further more when Yuvraj (18 from 14 deliveries) top edged an intended pull shot and was taken by Gilchrist running back. (86-4, 10)

Punjab were ahead of the required run rate but the big problem was the number of wickets they had lost and quite naturally they opted for caution for the next few overs. The first four overs after the strategic time out didn't bring much joy for Punjab as only 23 runs came off it and now 54 were needed from the last six overs.

Irfan Pathan never got going and his misery (10 from 12 deliveries) was ended when he was caught at short third man off Suman in the 15th over.

Wilkin Mota made just three before a misunderstanding with Jayawardene saw him run out in the 17th over. (127-6, 16.2)

But it seemed Gilchrist made a tactical error when he used part-timer Suman for that extra over. Jayawardene made Deccan pay when he smashed two consecutive sixes off Suman. That big over saw Punjab reach 140 for six after 17 overs, needing another 29 runs from the last three overs.

Jayawardene then smashed another boundary in the next over by Ojha before he was run out attempting a tight second run. The Sri Lankan captain played a fine knock of 43 from 28 deliveries to give Punjab some chance with his late hitting. (149-7, 17.5)

With 19 needed from the last two overs, Lee kept Punjab in the hunt with a straight six, leaving eight to get from the last over.

RP Singh's poor delivery to start the final over all but sealed it for Punjab. The left-arm pacer sent down a leg side short delivery that Chawla hit for a vital boundary. Lee completed the formalities with a single off the fifth delivery of the final over to give Punjab victory with one just delivery to spare.

Lee finished unbeaten on 14 from 10 deliveries, while Chawla was not out on 8 from six deliveries as Punjab reached 169 for seven in 19.5 overs.

It was Jayawardene's brilliant counter-attack that saw Punjab triumph despite the regular fall of wickets. It was a much needed win for Yuvraj's team to end a run of two successive losses and should provide them a big boost for their remaining four matches.

Both Punjab and Deccan now have 10 points each but the latter have the advantage of a match in hand and a better net run rate.

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Harish Kotian

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