Nagpur: They looked thoroughly outclassed for major part of the game but the Deccan Chargers came back from nowhere to edge out the Bangalore Royal Challengers by 13 runs to keep themselves alive in the race to the semis. Chasing 152, Bangalore looked comfortably placed but made a mess of it in the later half of the game at the Vidharba Cricket Association Stadium on Monday.
Once table toppers Bangalore, now have to win both their remaining games to make it to the semis and so do Deccan, who now have three consecutive victories.
After Dale Steyn came up with his IPL best figures of three for 18 to restrict the Chargers to 151-6, Bangalore were 74-1 in the tenth over with Rahul Dravid running away with the game. But once Dravid was dismissed one short of his fifty, the game changed its course. Jacques Kallis (27 off 37) managed to win back the Orange Cap but was extremely slow in a laborious innings before perishing in the 14th over.
Bangalore then failed to up the ante as the required rate went up with each falling wicket. Ross Taylor (one), Virat Kohli (three) and Cameron White (four) failed to make significant contributions in the tense chase.
The in-form Robin Uthappa (34 off 20) brought the visitors back in the hunt by creaming Ryan Harris for 21 runs in the 18th over that included two huge sixes. But the penultimate over, bowled by Harmeet Singh (two for 24), helped Deccan pouch the game with Uthappa cleaned up on the first ball and then Steyn (zero) trapped leg before. The medium pacer gave only one run in the over. And Harris made no mistake bowling the last over as a run out ended the Bangalore innings.
Earlier, Rohit Sharma (51 off 46) and Monish Mishra (41 off 30) top scored for the home side after they were pegged by a triple strike by the South African spearhead. The duo put on 82 runs for the fourth wicket, which gave the Deccan bowlers something to bowl at.
Anil Kumble's decision to bowl first reaped rich dividends early when Steyn had Adam Gilchrist caught behind for a duck. The in-form T Suman fell off his first ball giving Steyn (zero)a hat-trick chance. Though the pacer did not manage to get the hat-trick but he struck in his next over with a beauty to clean up Herschelle Gibbs (12), who returned to the line-up in place of Dwayne Smith.
Deccan, however, recovered to put themselves in a strong position at the half-way stage but a needless run out sent back Mishra. It was the ideal stage for Andrew Symonds (19) to enter but the Aussie who has won his team the last two games with the bat. But, Kumble snared Symonds just when he was looking to explode.
Rohit perished soon after he reached his fifty as only one big hit by Ryan Harris came about at the death.