Another one in the long line of losses

Dwayne Bravo of Mumbai Indians was influential with both the bat and the ball. He was deservedly the man of the match.-PTI

When Deccan Chargers met Mumbai, the game went according to script, with the former losing. Abhijit Sen Gupts reports.

The Hyderabad based Deccan Chargers outfit has lost matches with baffling regularity in the DLF IPL tournament. The stand-in captain Adam Gilchrist has admitted that the aim is now to learn something from this disappointing experience and build for the future. While it would be easy to lay the blame on the batsmen for not having been more consistent, the fact that the team also lags behind in other departments, cannot be ignored.

Against Mumbai Indians, Chargers had a great opportunity to notch up a win. Mumbai posted a total of 178, by no means a challenging target. But once again Chargers ran out of steam when it mattered the most.

The sad fact was that Deccan Chargers seemed a vanquished lot from the very beginning. Mumbai Indians was put in to bat and Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya opened the innings. In the very first over which yielded 11 runs, Jayasuriya’s explosive strokeplay threatened to expose the host’s shortcomings in bowling and fielding. But fortunately for Chargers the big-hitting Sri Lankan tested his luck once too often and was caught at deep square leg after scoring 36. When Shahid Afridi was brought on to bowl, he managed to pick up two wickets and pegged back Mumbai Indians for a while.

Although a lot was expected of Sachin Tendulkar and Robin Uthappa, neither could quite set the stands on fire. But later Abhishek Nayar and Dwayne Bravo got together in a stand of 54 for the fifth wicket to ensure that the team reached a reasonable total.

It was not really a formidable target but for Deccan Chargers, which has been consistently performing below par, it seemed big enough.

Gilchrist opened with Afridi. But soon the familiar story began to unfold. In the second over Afridi became the first to depart when he went for a huge hit off Bravo and skied the ball. Thornely running a long way near cover point took a well judged catch to send the Pakistani ace back to the pavilion.

Then Chargers suffered another big blow when Gilchrist was also dismissed. Bowling his first over, Dilhara Fernando pitched the ball just short of a length and Gilchrist trying to work the ball over backward point ended up giving a catch to Pinal Shah. With his next delivery Fernando also got rid of the in-form Rohit Sharma, trapped leg before. These three wickets took the wind out of Chargers’ sails and then it was downhill all the way.

It was left to Y. Venugopal Rao and D. B. Ravi Teja to offer some semblance of a fight and the two added 74 for the fifth wicket. Rao once again showed his penchant for strokeplay and a few lusty hits gave the crowd something to cheer about on an otherwise dreary evening. The contest, if it could be called that, predictably ended with Mumbai Indians romping home by 25 runs.

The Scores

Deccan Chargers v Mumbai Indians, Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Hyderabad, May 18, 2008.

Result: Mumbai Indians won by 25 runs.

Mumbai Indians 178 for seven in 20 overs (S. Jayasuriya 36, S. Tendulkar 23, A. Nayar 38, D. Bravo 30, V. Rao 2-25, R. P. Singh 3-35, S. Afridi 2-23) beat Deccan Chargers 153 for seven in 20 overs (V. Rao 57, D. Ravi Teja 37, D. Bravo 3-24, D. Fernando 2-38).