An all-round performance helped the bottom-ranked Deccan Chargers to thrash Rajasthan Royals by five wickets and put them out of content_cnion for the playoffs on Friday.
For Deccan Akshath Reddy top scored with 42 runs and with some valuable contributions from JP Duminy (24) and Shikhar Dhawan (26) in the middle overs. Although Rajasthan had some hope of defending their modest total of 126 after some quick wickets but Parthiv Patel and Ashish Reddy saw Deccan through without any further hiccups. Rajasthan’s Siddharth Trivedi took two wickets, while Johan Botha, Ajit Chandila and Stuart Binny chipped in with a wicket each.
Coming on for the chase, Deccan openers Dhawan and Reddy gave their team a great start from the first over itself. Going by the slow nature of the track, Dravid decided to start the proceedings with Chandila but the tall legspinner went for 11 runs which included a six and a four.
The runs kept coming thick and fast for Deccan as Rajasthan looked for their first breakthrough and that time came in the 9th over when Dhawan was dismissed by Botha for 26. But the wicket came tad too late for Rajasthan when Deccan were on course to an easy win with wickets in hand. But two quick wickets in the form of Reddy (42) and Cameron White (1) in successive overs brought Rajasthan back into the game.
These two wickets somehow applied brakes on their scoring rate and the wicket of Chris Lynn in the 16th over brightened Rajasthan’s chance of sneaking in a win with Deccan requiring 23 runs off 24 balls.
Earlier, Rajasthan skipper Rahul Dravid won the toss and opted to bat and this decision of his backfired as his team managed to put up a modest score of 126 for 8. The pitch had purchase for both spinners and the seamers and they made good use of the conditions.
In a crucial match like this where Rajasthan are fighting to stay alive for the playoff failed to read the pitch and kept losing wickets at regular intervals that hampered their chance of putting up a decent total on the board.
Dravid was the leading scorer with 39 off 36 balls, which included five hits to the fence while Owais Shah (28) and Ashok Menaria (20) made useful contribution. The Deccan spinners were getting grip and turn from the track, especially Amit Mishra (2 for 20) who scalped Shane Watson (13) in his first ball and returned to get rid of Stuart Binny (7) off two ripper of deliveries.
After getting a reprieve, Ajinkya Rahane (6) failed to capitalise as Dale Steyn (2 for 16) got the ball to swing away a bit to induce an edge of Rahane to the wicketkeeper. With regular wickets Deccan managed to keep Rajasthan under check and the visiting team was happy with singles and twos. With Dravid and Shah at the crease, Rajasthan still had hope but Dravid charged Manpreet Gony and slashed hard over point to hand an easy catch to the fielder.