Steyn stars for the host with a hostile spell; Akshath impresses with the bat
Deccan Chargers derailed Rajasthan Royals' IPL play-off hopes, recording a five-wicket win with eight balls to spare at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here on Friday.
Well and truly launched by the opening stand of 63 between Shikhar Dhawan and Akshath Reddy, the Chargers seemed finally in charge of a chase they looked capable of closing out. The visitors opening their attack with Ajit Chandila hardly impressed Dhawan, who smacked the spinner over the long on hoardings and then pulled him for a boundary to square leg.
Akshath, a mere stripling before the strapping Shane Watson, dispatched the Aussie paceman to the ropes twice, typifying the strong on-side play batsmen from these parts thrive on. He then ripped a boundary off Botha, bringing up the host's 50 and then hoisted the Springbok spinner over long on, as if to celebrate.
Dhawan scooped Shaun Tait over the keeper for a six, but his weakness for big hits proved to be his undoing. He smote a skier off Botha, which sailed into the hands of Chandila at long off.
Akshath departed in identical fashion, his miscued hit not making it past Owais Shah at mid-off.
The resilience shown by the openers didn't carry over to the middle-order, which however managed to cobble the runs required for victory.
Earlier, the Royals opted to bat first, but tottered to their lowest total of the season, its sole respectable score being skipper Rahul Dravid's 39. Dale Steyn drew first blood for the Chargers, having Ajinkya Rahane edge one that was drifting away. Lone slip Dhawan leaned to his right to clasp the chance. The South African continued to spew fire, beating Watson a couple of times. From the far end, Manpreet Gony was low on luck, with Dhawan at wide mid-on leaping forward to hold a drive from Watson, but not coming to grips with it. Dravid's on-drive was palmed away to the fence by Ashish Reddy. Amit Mishra then struck two telling blows, bowling out Watson and Stuart Binny. The leggie's guile foxed both batsmen, as he threaded his wrong ones through their defences. The fifth wicket pair of Owais Shah and Ashok Menaria took their team to three figures, but shortly after, the latter perished, holing out to Dhawan at deep cover.
Rajasthan Royals: R. Dravid c Lynn b Gony 39 (36b, 5x4), A. Rahane c Dhawan b Steyn 6 (7b, 1x4), S. Watson b Mishra 13 (13b, 1x4, 1x6), S. Binny b Mishra 7 (8b, 1x4), O. Shah (run out) 28 (32b, 1x4), A. Menaria c Dhawan b Veer Pratap 20 (17b, 1x4, 1x6), J. Botha c & b Steyn 3 (4b), S. Goswami b Veer Pratap 3 (3b), A. Chandila (not out) 0 (1b); Extras (b-1, lb-2, nb-1, w-3): 7; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs): 126.
Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Rahane), 2-41 (Watson), 3-54 (Binny), 4-73 (Dravid), 5-108 (Menaria), 6-118 (Botha), 7-126 (Goswami), 8-126 (Shah).
Deccan Chargers bowling: Duminy 2-0-13-0, Steyn 4-0-16-2, Gony 4-0-26-1, Veer Pratap 4-0-31-2, Mishra 4-0-20-2, Ashish 2-0-17-0.
Deccan Chargers: Akshath c Shah b Trivedi 42 (35b, 4x4, 1x6), S. Dhawan c Chandila b Botha 26 (24b, 2x4, 2x6), J.P. Duminy c Shah b Binny 24 (31b), C. White c & b Chandila 1 (4b), C. Lynn c Watson b Trivedi 6 (9b, 1x4), Parthiv (not out) 10 (5b, 1x4), Ashish (not out) 10 (4b, 2x4); Extras (lb-1, w-8): 9; Total (for five wkts in 18.4 overs): 128.
Fall of wickets: 1-63 (Dhawan), 2-83 (Akshath), 3-88 (White), 4-102 (Lynn), 5-118 (Duminy).
Rajasthan Royals bowling: Chandila 4-0-20-1, Watson 2-0-14-0, Tait 3.4-0-35-0, Botha 4-0-30-1, Trivedi 4-0-20-2, Binny 1-0-8-1.
Man-of-the-match: D. Steyn.