Hyderabad: Neither the stars on field, nor those high above the sky, could save the Deccan Chargers from their final debacle at the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket tournament as the Hyderabad team conceded a seven-wicket defeat to the Chennai Super Kings. With this victory, the Chennai team entered the semis dislodging the Mumbai Indians from the first edition of the IPL.
Drubbed seventh time in a row and 12 in toto, no wonder the clueless Deccan Chargers captain Adam Gilchrist searched for an answer when asked about his team’s IPL experience during the post-match presentation ceremony Tuesday evening. When it came, it was a tale of awesome cheerleaders and awful cricket. The former Aussie vice-captain and wicket-keeper took pride in arguably the tournament’s best cheerleaders his team had and expressed apologies for poor cricket the team played.
Choosing to bat first, the Deccan Chargers scored 147 runs for the loss of seven wickets with Venugopal Rao (46) and Ravi Teja (40) leading the chart. Significantly enough, the explosive opening pair of Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs returned to the pavilion without troubling the score keepers much. Both were back to the pavilion with only 15 runs on board.
Failing to win a single match on home turf, the Deccan Chargers batting line-up was never at ease against the tight bowling line Chennai bowlers adopted. The trio of Makhya Ntini, Manpreet Gony and Laxmipathy Balaji ensured throughout that boundaries were scare for the Hyderabad unit.
The Chennai Super Kings run chase was not a willow juggernaut either. Openers Stephen Fleming (14) and Parthiv Patel (20) could not continue for long and quickly gave away their wickets. After surviving a first-ball departure scare, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni made a breezy 37 off 25 deliveries while first-down Suresh Raina batted steadfastly till the end making an unbeaten 54. Dhoni would though depart before his team reached home, thanks to his impatience and an ambitious shot off Pragyan Ojha that was caught at long-on. Finally, South African Albie Morkel joined Raina in the middle and the duo took their team to the semis without further jolts.
The Super Kings collected 16 points in their league venture and they face Kings XI Punjab in the semi-finals coming Saturday.