Nandakumar Marar

His unbeaten 73 was studded with eight sixes and two fours

AHMEDABAD: Bowling can become an occupational hazard when Yusuf Pathan (73 not out, 34b, 2x4, 8x6) is firing on all cylinders. Deccan Chargers' Chaminda Vaas, Pragyan Ojha and Rahul Sharma realised this during their DLF-IPL III encounter against Rajasthan Royals at the Motera stadium on Friday.

Royals, chasing Chargers' 148 for nine, raced to 151 for two in 15.4 overs thanks to Pathan's blitzkrieg.

Lumb on song

Royals' opener Michael Lumb gave R.P. Singh the charge, stealing four boundaries off the Chargers medium-pacer. The other opener, Naman Ojha, took on left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha as five overs yielded 50 for the home side.

Pathan then lit up the night sky with fireworks off his now famous bat, clearing the ropes at will for an audacious half-century off just 23 balls (2x4, 5x6).

Earlier, in the hands of a certain Shane Warne, the ball became a weapon to tease and torment the batsmen. Royals' captain and inspiration stepped into the battle in the seventh over and struck with his fourth ball of the night. Even normally trigger-happy batsmen like Andrew Symonds and Rohit Sharma curbed their instincts while facing the legendary leg-spinner.

Herschelle Gibbs, on the other hand, paid the penalty for throwing caution to the winds. Warne lured Gibbs out for a drive and got the ball to turn away for wicketkeeper Naman Ojha to do the rest. The Australian's final analysis of 4-0-15-1 amply demonstrated his dominance over the batsmen.

Only Rohit Sharma settled down to another day at work with two big shots off Siddarth Trivedi.

Rohit got a life when he was on 30. Swinging Pathan to the midwicket fence, he saw Adam Voges put down a simple chance. He was eventually out after a fighting knock of 49 off 35 balls (two fours, three sixes).

Sluggish running

Chargers had slumped to 71 for four due to Andrew Symonds's sluggish running between the wickets as he failed to beat Jhunjhunwala's throw from the deep to his captain. Jhunjhunwala also ran out Venugopala Rao with a direct hit.

Shaun Tait, the pick of the Royals bowlers with three for 22, sent back V.V.S. Laxman early and came back to dismiss T. Suman and Rohit.

The scores:

Deccan Chargers: A. Gilchrist c Pathan b Narwal 1 (3b), V.V.S. Laxman c Pathan b Tait 10 (12b, 1x4), H. Gibbs st. N. Ojha b Warne 25 (14b, 2x4, 2x6), A. Symonds (run out) 22 (14b, 3x4), Rohit Sharma c Lumb b Tait 49 (35b, 2x4, 3x6), T. Suman b Tait 9 (15b), Venugopala Rao (run out) 2 (5b), C. Vaas (run out) 8 (13b), Rahul Sharma c Jhunjhunwala b Narwal 10 (5b, 1x6), R.P. Singh (not out) 1 (4b), P. Ojha (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (b-2, lb-2, w-7): 11. Total (for nine wkts. in 20 overs): 148.

Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-40, 3-58, 4-71, 5-99, 6-103, 7-128, 8-138, 9-147.

Rajasthan Royals bowling: Narwal 4-0-35-2, Jhunjhunwala 1-0-16-0, Trivedi 3-0-35-0, Tait 4-0-22-3, Warne 4-0-15-1, Pathan 2-0-12-0, Voges 2-0-9-0.

Rajasthan Royals: M. Lumb (run out) 45 (32b, 7x4), N. Ojha st. Gilchrist b P. Ojha 14 (17b, 1x4, 1x6), Y. Pathan (not out) 73 (34b, 2x4, 8x6), F. Fazal (not out) 8 (11b, 1x4); Extras (lb-4, w-7): 11. Total (for two wkts. in 15.4 overs): 151.

Fall of wickets: 1-55, 2-101.

Deccan Chargers bowling: Vaas 3-0-29-0, R.P. Singh 2-0-22-0, Rohit 2-0-17-0, Rahul 3.4-0-30-0, P. Ojha 3-0-40-1, Symonds 2-0-9-0 .

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