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A 147 run partnership between Kumar Sangakkara (82) and Cameron White (74) allowed the Deccan Chargers to record a narrow 13 run victory over the Pune Warriors to give themselves a slight chance of staying in the battle for play-off spots in this the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League. Pune were competitive right through the contest, but lost it in the 18th and 19th overs of the Deccan innings as Sourav Ganguly and Ashish Nehra conceded 50 runs between them. Deccan posted an exceptional 186/4 in their 20 overs on a two paced pitch, and despite some battling forties from Michael Clarke (41), Ganguly (45) and Steve Smith (47*), it was the hosts who recorded what was just their second win of the competition. The result will be a massive disappointment for Pune, who are on a poor run of form that has seen them lose three games in a row to leave them facing the possibility of needing to win 5 of their remaining 6 games to make it to the knock-out rounds of the IPL.
The Deccan Chargers, in desperate need of some points, entertained the Pune Warriors at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack in match no.42 of the Indian Premier League on Tuesday afternoon. Both teams made wholesale changes to their line-up with captain Kumar Sangakkara returning to lead the side with Daniel Christian making way. 21-year old left-arm spinner Ankit Sharma earned a very much overdue recall while local Cuttack lad Biplap Samantray was given a rare opportunity to impress. The Pune Warriors meanwhile handed Australian captain Michael Clarke his IPL debut while Wayne Parnell too returned to the line-up with Jesse Ryder and Alfonso Thomas the unfortunate duo to miss out. Rahul Sharma was another noteworthy absentee as the Warriors reshuffled their pack in an attempt to end their two game win-less run.
The powerplay went Pune's way with Deccan struggling to 33/2 at the end of 6 overs. Pune's decision to open the bowling with Marlon Samuels paid instant dividends with Parthiv Patel being bowled on the first ball of the match off the inside edge of his bat. Cameron White was slightly surprisingly sent in at no.3 ahead of Kumar Sangakkara, but it was the in-form Shikhar Dhawan who got the scoreboard moving with 2 fours off Samuels' second over. Dhawan's luck ran out in the 5th over of the innings though when he lost his middle stump to Bhuvneshwar Kumar when on 13. Sangakkara finally came out at no.4 and took some time to find his bearings. White meanwhile was granted a life when part-time keeper Robin Uthappa grassed a tough chance down the leg side off Wayne Parnell with the umpire deeming that there was a touch of bat involved.
Cameron White showed the first signs of genuine aggression by planting Murali Kartik back over his head for 6. Ten runs off that Karthik over pushed the score along to 58/2 at the half-way stage of the innings. Sourav Ganguly responded to the challenge by taking the ball, and sneaked in a 5 run over to slow the Deccan charge again.
Consecutive double digit overs pushed Deccan on to 85/2 from 13 overs, giving them a platform from which they could aspire to push for a 150+ score. Ashish Nehra crept in a tight over which conceded 6 singles before Marlon Samuels was taken to the cleaners by Kumar Sangakkara, who smashed 4 boundaries off a 19 run over to announce his return to form. In the next over, the former Lankan skipper brought up a long overdue half-century with a scoop over fine-leg off Wayne Parnell. Sangakkara celebrated the milestone by crunching the next ball through extra cover for another boundary, and there was class written all over that shot.
Cameron White brought up his second half-century of the IPL against Pune in the 17th over, getting to the milestone off 38 deliveries. Ganguly's decision to bring himself back into the attack backfired with Cameron White spanking the former Indian skipper for three consecutive sixes. The over conceded 25 runs and propelled Deccan well past 150.
Sangakkara showed that he could match White for power by helping himself to 25 as well from Ashish Nehra's next over. Two fours and two sixes were his way of getting there, before the veteran batsman was bowled on the 7th ball of the over (due to a no-ball), dragging the ball back onto his stumps. Sangakkara fell for an incredible 82, ending a record 157 run partnership.
Cameron White decided he did not want to bat without his skipper, falling the very next ball to Wayne Parnell for 74, giving the Pune Warriors an opportunity to drag things back in the final over. Parnell conceded just 6 runs in the over to finish with excellent figures of 1-25. With 186 runs on the board, Deccan would have to be favourites to do the double over Pune.
Pune's chase had an identical beginning to Deccan's innings with Manish Pandey falling for a first ball duck to Ankit Sharma, caught by Sangakkara at mid-on. Surprisingly though Sanga did not give Sharma a second over in the powerplay. Michael Clarke had opened the batting and looked in splendid touch, smashing 6 boundaries in the powerplay including three in a row in Dale Steyn's second over which went for 25. Sourav Ganguly had come in at no.3 and was looking solid too, taking Deccan to a competitive 48/1 in 6 overs.
An exciting 9th over saw JP Duminy drop a hard caught and bowled chance to give Michael Clarke a second life, before Ganguly survived a plumb leg before appeal. The former Indian captain in a way only he can, depositing Duminy into the stands over long-off. At the half-way stage of the innings Pune were well placed at 75/1, with Amit Mishra showing some glimpses of form with the ball.
The 90 run partnership for the 2nd wicket between Ganguly and Clarke ended in bizarre circumstances with the latter run out for 41 while attempting a cheeky 2nd run when Shikhar Dhawan dropped a skier off Veer Pratap Singh. Amit Mishra was alert at short third man and quickly threw the ball to Parthiv Patel, who whipped the bails off in a flash. In the very next over, Ganguly fell for 45, caught at short cover off Shikhar Dhawan, who was bowling in place of the injured JP Duminy.
The newcomers Steve Smith and Robin Uthappa had little time to play themselves in, and needed to come out swinging. The duo added a competitive 29 in 20 balls heading into the strategic timeout. Pune were left with the unlikely task of scoring 62 from the last 4 overs to sneak a win. The next two overs brought 22 with Smith motoring along while Uthappa was struggling to score better than a run a ball. A 6 from Uthappa in the penultimate over was shortly after followed by his dismissal with another Ashish Reddy slower ball getting rid of the set batsman. Steve Smith though finished the over with another 6 to leave Pune needing 23 to win from the last over.
It was Veer Pratap Singh vs Mithun Manhas to start the over. A dot ball, followed by a six and a single brought Smith back on strike with 16 needed from the last 3 balls. However, Smith was unable to get more than a single off the penultimate delivery, allowing Deccan to snatch a narrow 13 run victory.
Deccan will hope to keep their winning run going when they take on an out of form Chennai Super Kings side away from home on Friday. Pune meanwhile are in action on both Thursday and Saturday, squaring off against Mumbai in the Grand Maharashtra derby before a split Eden Gardens will welcome home their favourite son.
Deccan Chargers: P Patel (wk), S Dhawan, K Sangakkara (c), C White, JP Duminy, B Samantray, A Sharma, A Ashish Reddy, A Mishra, D Steyn, Veer Pratap Singh
Pune Warriors: M Pandey, S Ganguly (c), M Clarke, RV Uthappa (wk), M Samuels, S Smith, M Manhas, W Parnell, M Kartik, B Kumar, A Nehra
Deccan Chargers 186/4 (20 overs, 9.3rpo)
K Sangakkara 82 (52) W Parnell 1-25
C White 74 (45) B Kumar 1-22
Kolkata Knight Riders 173/5 (20 overs, 7.65rpo)
S Ganguly 45 (40) S Dhawan 1-9
S Smith 47* (27) A Sharma 1-9
Deccan win by 13 runs
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