Deccan Chargers held its nerves to pull off its fifth win in a row and the reward was a semifinal slot in the DLF Indian Premier League-III.
The 11–run win over Delhi Daredevils came on the strength of a splendid team effort at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Sunday.
Three sensational catches by Rohit Sharma; A brilliant knock by Man-of-the-Match Andrew Symonds; astute leadership by Adam Gilchrist; a crafty spell by Pragyan Ojha and a tight final over by Chaminda Vaas drove home the essence of collective effort. A pity, Daredevils relied too much on Paul Collingwood to take it home.
It was a knockout match following Chennai Super Kings' entry to the semifinals in the afternoon. Daredevils had its task cut out but the opposition turned out to be determined too. Runs had to be earned the hard way in the second half of the contest as the slow pitch demanded batting skills of a high order.
A target of 146 needed discipline but the home team's apprehensions rested in its own camp. Daredevils, after a customary top-order collapse, tried to recover through a sensible approach by Mithun Manhas and Collingwood before disaster struck in the shape of a run out.
Manhas responded late and paid the penalty; as did Daredevils. A packed audience had cheered the home team where Umesh Yadav stood out by claiming the wickets of in-form Rohit Sharma and T. Suman. The spell by Yadav was matched by Dirk Nannes, who went wicketless but did a splendid job.
Ashish Nehra chipped in with two wickets and the job was handed over to the batsmen. Adam Gilchrist failed but not Andrew Symonds.
Symonds's knock was the highlight of Deccans' innings which just about managed to put up a total to fight.
The first visiting captain to win the toss, Gilchrist succumbed to an ambitious swipe off Nehra. The breakthrough sent positive signals through the Daredevils ranks and runs came at a premium for Deccan Chargers.
Daredevils began on a disastrous note when David Warner and Virender Sehwag fell to stunning catches brought off by Rohit Sharma. Hopes for Daredevils rose with T. Dilshan's crisp drives but he fell to an indiscreet scoop.
When Rohit Sharma brought off his third catch, a spectacular pouch at short midwicket, Daredevils had messed up the chase.
Deccan Chargers: A. Gilchrist c Gambhir b Nehra 10 (9b, 2x4), M. Mishra (run out) 25 (19b, 2x4, 1x6), T. Suman b Yadav 5 (6b, 1x4), Rohit Sharma c Karthik b Yadav 11 (9b, 2x4), A. Symonds c Manhas b Mishra 54 (30b, 3x4, 5x6), M. Marsh c Manhas b Nehra 13 (19b), B. Sumanth (not out) 7 (12b), C. Vaas c Nehra b Collingwood 3 (8b), Rahul Sharma (not out) 14 (8b, 2x4), Extras (lb-2, w-1) 3; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs) 145.
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-32, 3-47, 4-66, 5-116, 6-121, 7-128.
Delhi Daredevils bowling: Nannes 4-0-22-0, Nehra 4-0-32-2, Yadav 4-0-24-2, Mishra 4-0-28-1, Collingwood 3-0-23-1, Dilshan 1-0-14-0.
Delhi Daredevils: D. Warner c Rohit b Marsh 5 (4b, 1x4), V. Sehwag c Rohit b Vaas 8 (6b, 2x4), T. Dilshan lbw b Harmeet 11 (11b, 2x4), G. Gambhir c Rohit b Ojha 4 (9b), M. Manhas (run out) 23 (22b, 2x4), P. Collingwood (not out) 52 (42b, 1x4, 3x6), D. Karthik b Ojha 1 (2b), A. Mishra b Harmeet Singh 4 (9b), A. Nehra (not out) 21 (16b, 2x4, 1x6), Extras (lb-2, nb-1, w-2) 5; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs) 134.
Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-19, 3-25, 4-39, 5-68, 6-72, 7-86.
Deccan Daredevils bowling: Vaas 4-0-19-1, Marsh 2-0-19-1, Harmeet 4-0-41-2, Symonds 2-0-8-0, Ojha 4-0-16-2, Sharma 4-0-29-0.