Shrewd team selection earned the Deccan Chargers their first ever win at their home ground and the Bangalore Royal Challengers their second defeat of the 2011 Indian Premier League on Thursday.
Three and a bit seasons and a plethora of defeats at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad down the line, the former champions got the proverbial monkey off their back thanks to Sunny Sohal, JP Duminy and Manpreet Gony’s meaningful contributions to the 33-run triumph.
Sohal, picked ahead of Ishant Jaggi, weighed in with a steady knock of 38 at the top of the knock before Duminy, who retained his place despite the belated arrival of big-hitting Australian Cameron White’s to the Deccan fold, pitched in with a quickfire 22 to push the hosts to a formidable score.
While Bharat Chipli’ unbeaten 61 and captain Kumar Sangakkara’s 36 are not to go unnoticed, it was ultimately Sohal and Duminy’s innings that respectively began and finished the hefty total of 175 for five.
Zaheer Khan, hot on the heels of his 21-wicket haul across India’s World Cup-winning campaign, did his best to stem the flow of runs with three wickets, but was admittedly undone by the Deccan batsmen, with Chipli’s three fours on the trot off the stalwart seamer typifying Khan’s relatively sorry day at the office.
Bangalore’s reply was in tatters from the get-go as Ishant Sharma removed danger man Tillakaratne Dilshan cheaply and Dale Steyn (three for 24) put an end to pinch-hitter Zaheer’s hopes a mere three balls into his promotion up the order.
With the new-ball bowlers spent for the time being, Gony entered the attack and duly dismissed opener Mayank Agarwal for 16 another key to the Bangalore cause, AB de Villiers, for a duck. Having moved from Chennai to the Royal Challengers in the IPL off-season, the lanky 127-year-old seamer fully justified his selection ahead of spinner Pragyan Ojha.
At 56 for five, Deccan captain Kumar Sangakkara entertained Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara’s quest to stage a fightback for a while by affording the expensive leg-spinner, Amit Mishra, an extended spell. However, Steyn’s return to the attack soon restored the inevitable as Pujara holed out the down ground for a stifled 25 and Johan van der Wath spooned a sitter to the wicketkeeper for a quacker.
Kohli kept swinging for the fences across his 51-delivery 71, but, running out of partners – and overs – eventually swiped at one too many as Gony (three for 31) sniped through gate to clinch his third victim of the day.
The Bangalore tail-enders threw the kitchen sink at everything but, suffice to say, came up well short at 142 for nine.
Thursday’s win saw Sangakkara’s men rise to fourth in the 10-team IPL standings, while the Royal Challengers slumped to seventh. Cricket365