A tame affair

Shaun Marsh… in top form.-PTI

The match at Mohali once again proved that the bowling resources of Deccan Chargers was grossly inadequate to defend a total, even as challenging as 175. Rakesh Rao reports.

An upwardly mobile Kings XI Punjab did just enough to push a struggling Deccan Chargers down the slope.

A six-wicket victory in a high-scoring match at home kept the Mohali team in the second spot of the Indian Premier League and more importantly, proved that its intensity was no less even after making sure of a place in the semifinal.

The match once again proved that the bowling resources of DeccanChargers was grossly inadequate to defend a total, even as challenging as 175. It is true that Chargers began as one of the strong contenders for a place in the semifinals since it had players of proven skills in limited overs format.

However, the collective inconsistency of Adam Gilchrist, Herschelle Gibbs, Shahid Afridi and the absence of Andrew Symonds hit the team hard.

Rohit Sharma did prove to be a revelation but then, Chargers’ bowling left a lot to be desired. Only R. P. Singh kept getting wickets but conceded too many runs in the bargain.

Against this background, Kings XI knew what needed to be done in order to pick up two more points. Though Gilchrist helped himself to a half-century, he was far from explosive by his own standards.

Gibbs returned to the squad and looked more dangerous than the Australian left-hander but could not push Kings XI out of its comfort zone. Rohit came good with another half century but the eventual tally of 175 for four proved not good enough. Shaun Marsh, who made his IPL debut in Hyderabad and walked away with the Man of the Match award, was at it again.

The stylish left-hander from Western Australia fired a dominating 60 and comeback-man Kumar Sangakkara scored a quick 50 to give Kings XI a flying start.

Marsh, who went on to pick up his fourth Man of the Match award from eight appearances, once again displayed some clean yet ruthless hitting.

He has clearly proved to be a big asset to Punjab. The way Sangakkara batted, no one could believe that he was nursing a side strain that had put him out of action for 20 days. He straightaway got into the groove and dominated the bowling.

Later, it was left to Mahela Jayawardene and young Piyush Chawla to put the finishing touches. In the closing overs, a six from each of these two batsmen helped Kings XI win with three deliveries to spare.

Jayawardene’s presence in the middle eased the tension for Chawla who could do the job with the bat, for a change.

The defeat, 10th from 12 outings, kept Chargers at the bottom of the table.

The Scores

Kings XI Punjab v Deccan Chargers, Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali, May 23, 2008.

Result: Kings XI Punjab won by six wickets

Deccan Chargers 175 for four in 20 overs (Adam Gilchrist 50, Rohit Sharma 50, Herschelle Gibbs 44, Chamara Silva 23 n.o) lost to Kings XI Punjab 178 for four in 19.3 overs (Shaun Marsh 60, Kumar Sangakkara 50, Pragyan Ojha 2-30).

* * * Rain plays spoilsport

The match between Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders at the Ferozeshah Kotla, Delhi (May 22), was abandoned due to rain.