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Hyderabad overcome Royal Challenge for title

By Rediff cricket
Last updated on: May 25, 2009 01:11 IST
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Deccan Chargers staged a remarkable fightback to upstage Royal Challengers Bangalore by six runs in a nail-biting final and win the second edition of the Indian Premier League at Johannesburg on Sunday.

Chasing a modest 144 to win, Bangalore could muster only 139 for nine in their quota of overs.

Pragyan Ojha was Hyderabad's most successful bowler, with figures of three for 28.

It was sheer irony that the team that finished with the proverbial wooden spoon in the inaugural edition of the tournament went on to lift the trophy in the second season.

It can also be accrued to fate that the two teams that occupied the bottom of the table in the inaugural edition contested the final this year. Both, along with Delhi Daredevils, qualify for the inaugural Champions League T20, to be held in India in October.

Hyderabad's triumph meant that for the second year running an Australian captain lifted the coveted trophy -- Adam Gilchrist following in the footsteps of the legendary Shane Warne of Rajasthan Royals.

Bangalore's defeat also meant it was a day of 'double despair' for their owner, Vijay Mallya. His F1 team, Force India, had earlier in the day at the Monaco Grand Prix failed to secure their maiden points in Formula One after coming desperately close -- Italian Giancarlo Fisichella finishing ninth.

Earlier, a superb spell of bowling by Anil Kumble (4-0-16-4) helped Bangalore restrict the Chargers to a paltry 143 for six.

Herschelle Gibbs scored a superlative 53 not out off 48 balls (3x4, 2x6) to keep the Hyderabad challenge alive. The South African combined aggression with caution to good effect to anchor the team's innings to perfection after the early dismissal of Adam Gilchrist for zilch.

Hyderabad innings:

Going into the match, Bangalore batted second in all the three games they played at the Wanderers and won. Moreover, five out of six times teams chasing won at the Bullring.

No points for guessing then what Kumble's decision upon winning the toss was.

And the captain ensured Bangalore had a perfect start, by knocking out his rival number Adam Gilchrist with a perfect wrong 'un in what was only the third ball of the match.

The Australian, who had almost single-handedly (with a 35-ball 85) led his team past the powerful Delhi Daredevils in the semi-finals two days earlier, was beaten by Kumble's pace, rather the lack of it, and saw his stumps shattered.

The wicket, apart from ensuring a worst possible start for Hyderabad, also ensured Matthew Hayden (Chennai Super Kings, 572 runs) will have the Orange cap atop his head at the end the tournament -- Gilchrist, with 495 runs, was the only batsman who had a slight chance of getting past his countryman.

T Suman (10/11) lived dangerously for some time and then compounded Hyderabad's woes by hitting an R Vinay Kumar delivery straight to Manish Pandey at point.

The first ball that Andrew Symonds (33/21) faced (off Jacques Kallis) was just short of length outside the off-stump and the Australian was quick to pounce on it, scoring a superb boundary between point and cover.

After five overs, the Hyderabad innings was delicately placed at 23 for two. And, in the second ball of the sixth over, Bangalore, who had been impeccable thus far, made their first and, arguably, only faux pas.

Rahul Dravid, the world record holder for most catches in Tests, was guilty of dropping a regulation catch at slips off Vinay Kumar's bowling.

Symonds was the beneficiary. And the Australian expressed his gratitude by smashing the last ball of that over to the extra cover fence.

Bangalore paid a small price for the blunder. The seventh over by Kallis cost them 14 runs.

Symonds smashed successive boundaries, the first past mid-off and the second past covers. And Gibbs, who had been subdued all the while, edged one between Mark Boucher and slips for his first boundary.

Roelef van der Merwe was brought into the attack in the eighth over and Symonds smashed his second ball over the midwicket fence for a maximum.

The Australian's aggression ensured a brief renaissance in the Hyderabad innings. However, the Bangalore skipper returned to confine them once again to the Dark Ages.

Symonds failed to play the pull shot off Kumble's wrong 'un and the ball ricochetted his body to dislodge the stumps.

It was a bizarre dismissal. Not that it mattered much to Bangalore.

They sent the dangerman back to the pavilion and ensured Hyderabad went into the strategic time out precariously placed at 62 for three.

The first three overs after resumption yielded next to nothing. And when Rohit Sharma (24/23) hit a fine square in the second ball of the 14th over it ensured Hyderabad their first boundary in six overs.

However, the 15th over by Praveen Kumar added yet another twist to the plot, with both Gibbs and Sharma helping themselves to maximums.

The over, which ensured 20 runs, was by far the best over of the Hyderabad innings and, without doubt, the worst (and most expensive) for Bangalore.

And when Gibbs hit another boundary of Van der Merwe in the next over it completed the 50-runs partnership for the fourth wicket, providing some much-needed succour to the Hyderabad innings.

However, with Kumble around, Hyderabad couldn't afford to relax. The Bangalore captain returned to make a double breakthrough in his final over and peg his opponents further back.

Sharma was the first to depart, caught by Pandey at long-off. And, four balls later, Venugopal Rao (0/2) hit straight to the fielder (Ross Taylor) at extra cover boundary.

Gibbs smashed Praveen Kumar over the mid-on boundary for a maximum to bring about his half century in the penultimate over.

It was a superb knock, under trying circumstances, from the South African opener, who had been erratic going into the decider (with as many as four ducks).

Vinay Kumar's final over yielded nine but the Bangalore bowler did manage to take the wicket of Azhar Bilakhia (6/7), trapped leg before.

Bangalore innings:

The Bangalore innings began on a sedate note, the team accumulating just five runs in their first couple of overs.

However, Kallis (16/17) tried to break free in the third over, hitting a couple of boundaries off Ryan Harris.

The veteran South African all-rounder clipped RP Singh away to the midwicket boundary but the bowler had his vengeance with the very next delivery, the batsman edging the ball back to his stumps.

RP, assured of donning the Purple cap (for most wickets) at the end of the tournament, bolstered his tally to 23 wickets.

However, any hopes Hyderabad had of building on their maiden breakthrough suffered a setback when Van der Merwe smashed two maximums in Harris's third over, the first over long-off and the second wide of long-on.

Ojha was introduced in the seventh over and the left arm spinner, who had an impressive haul of 15 dismissals going into the match, added to his tally immediately, striking a blow with his first ball.

Manish Pandey, trying to cut an away-going delivery, only succeeded in edging to Gilchrist behind the stumps.

Pandey, who won man-of-the-match awards in the last two matches, came a cropper in the decider, scoring just four off eight deliveries.

Meanwhile, Van der Merwe continued his assault, smashing Symonds over the deep square leg boundary for six and then lofting Ojha wide of mid-on for a boundary.

Ojha had the last laugh though, two balls after the one off which the boundary was scored. The left-armer slowed the ball a bit and moved it away from the right hander, beating him in the air and Gilchrist did a fine piece of work behind the stumps.

Van der Merwe scored 32 off just 21 balls (1x4, 3x6) but lost his wicket at a time when it looked he was running away with the match.

The in-form Taylor (27/20) hit successive boundaries off Harmeet Singh, the first a fine leg glance and the second, smashed into the gap behind point, to ensure Bangalore go into the strategic time-out with their advantage intact, at 69 for three.

However, in the second over after resumption Hyderabad made yet another breakthrough, and a crucial one at that.

Dravid (9/13) tried to play an uncharacteristic (read bizarre) paddle sweep off Harmeet and saw his leg stump get knocked over.

Taylor smashed a short ball from Ojha to deep square leg boundary and followed it up with a massive six over fine leg to help Bangalore keep the pace. But Hyderabad struck back, Symonds making a double breakthrough in the 15th over, to peg their rivals back.

While a well-settled Taylor was guilty of playing a rash shot, straight to Venugopal Rao at deep square leg, Virat Kohli (7/8) was done in by yet another smart piece of work by Gilchrist behind the stumps.

And when Boucher (5/6) was snapped up by Gibbs at point off Harmeet in the next over, Bangalore had only themselves to blame for the precarious position they had got themselves into.

The next over witnessed Ojha deal another blow to Bangalore's aspirations, enticing Praveen Kumar (2/3) to hit one high up and RP Singh took a good catch, running in from the gully area.

It was Ojha's third wicket and swelled his tally for the tournament to 18.

The penultimate over of the Bangalore innings was by far the most dramatic.

Needing 27 to win off their last two overs, Vinay Kumar (8/8) hit a boundary over backward point and Robin Uthappa smashed the ball over the long-on boundary for a maximum.

But just as things looked up for Bangalore again, a brilliant catch by Harmeet Singh at fine leg ensured the departure of Vinay Kumar and reignited Hyderabad's hopes.

RP Singh, the best bowler of the tournament, then bowled a superb final over (conceding only eight when 15 was required) to seal victory for Hyderabad.

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