Marsh shows the way

Shaun Marsh.-H. SATISH

After the match Laxman admitted that the Deccan Chargers’ batting could have done with more momentum. He felt that even 20 more runs would have put the home team on firmer ground. Abhijit Sen Gupta reports.

Deccan Chargers went down tamely yet again on its home ground, Hyderabad, when it lost to Kings XI Punjab by seven wickets with seven balls remaining in the DLF-IPL tournament. The home team’s strong batting line-up did not click. And the total of 164 that it posted after being put in to bat, was not big enough to pose a challenge to the rival batsmen.

That the men from Punjab were able to achieve the target with a great deal of comfort was mainly due to the determined 84 not out by Shaun Marsh. His controlled aggression was just the right approach under the circumstances.

Earlier, when the home team batted, a lot was expected from opener Adam Gilchrist after his great innings in the previous match. But he was soon bowled by Irfan Pathan. One of the major stumbling blocks for Chargers so far has been the inconsistency of some of its key batsmen.

V. V. S. Laxman executed some well hit drives to keep the crowd in good humour. After he departed it was young Rohit Sharma who once again came to his team’s rescue with a splendid innings. This Nagpur-born player is turning out to be one of the most consistent batsmen in the Chargers line-up and has overshadowed some of the more illustrious names in the team. Undeterred by the regular fall of wickets at the other end he rattled up an unbeaten 76 which helped his team reach a modest 164 for eight.

Kings XI Punjab began the chase well. The openers Marsh and Ramnaresh Sarwan were able to pick the gaps and send the ball to the fence at frequent intervals. But after the departure of Sarwan the run-rate dropped slightly. And when Kumar Sangakkara and Yuvraj Singh departed cheaply, hopes arose that the visiting team may be contained.

But that was when Marsh and Jayawardene got together in an unbroken and decisive 81-run stand. The two of them realised that no fireworks were required — just a steady accumulation of runs would do. And they set about their task with commendable focus. They stayed at the wicket, picked up the ones and twos, and when the bowlers erred, they did not hesitate to go for their shots.

Even before the match ended, the crowds could be seen leaving the stadium — convinced that Chargers was doomed yet again.

After the match, Laxman admitted that the batting could have done with more momentum. He felt that even 20 more runs would have put the home team on firmer ground. He said that while the players were doing their best, sometimes things do not work out. A big partnership or two could have made all the difference, according to Laxman.

The Scores

Deccan Chargers v Kings XI, Punjab, Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Hyderabad, May 1, 2008.

Result: Kings XI won by seven wickets.

Deccan Chargers 164 for eight in 20 overs ( V. Laxman 48, R. Sharma 76 not out, I. Pathan 2-30, P. Chawla 3-28) lost to Kings XI, Punjab 167 for three in 18.5 overs ( S. Marsh 84 not out, M. Jayawardene 45 not out).