(Cricinfo) Pune Warriors succumbed to the tournament’s whipping boys, Deccan Chargers, batting them out of the match for the second time in less than a week. It wasn’t a flawless win for the Chargers’ though, as their ground fielding and catching continued to look sloppy. Their saviour was an explosive stand of 157 between the two experienced hands – Cameron White and Kumar Sangakkara – which took them to 186. The Warriors slumped to their third consecutive loss and remained third from bottom in the points table.
The Chargers won the toss but got off to a poor start when they lost Parthiv Patel first ball, dragging Marlon Samuels onto his off stump.
The pressure increased on the inconsistent White and out-of-form Sangakkara, who brought himself back after sitting out the last match. The first ten overs was a slow and steady build for the Chargers, who struggled to get the run-rate above six.
Sangakkara didn’t look convincing at the start, playing and missing and also getting an under-edge off a drive. Chargers managed only five boundaries in the first nine overs, before a straight six by White off Murali Kartik in the tenth over gave the Warriors a sign of things to come.
It was as if the Chargers began on a fresh slate. The run-rate began creeping over six after the 12th over, the point from which Chargers took control. The 15th over was Sangakkara’s turning point in this tournament as he smashed four boundaries off Samuels. He lofted inside out over extra cover, edged to third man, smashed one over the bowler’s head and swept past short fine leg.
Sangakkara brought up his fifty the following over with a chip to short fine leg after which he pumped his fists. Sourav Ganguly, who had conceded 15 off two overs, brought himself back on to stem the runs but it turned out to be a tactical blunder as his meaty offerings cost the Warriors 25 runs. White slogged three consecutive sixes over the on side before clipping one to fine leg for four, in the process outscoring Sangakkara.
Sangakkara then took on Nehra, showing the confidence to innovate by shuffling at the crease and fetching four boundaries, including two sixes. Attempted yorkers turned into friendly full tosses, which Sangakkara pounded over the leg side. Chargers ransacked 50 off two overs before the pair fell off successive deliveries. They smashed 95 off the last six overs and gave themselves a shot at beating the Warriors for the second time.
The Warriors too dubiously lost a wicket off the first ball of the innings – the first such occurance in the IPL. After Manish Pandey tamely chipped Ankit Sharma to mid-on, Ganguly walked in, ahead of Steve Smith, as if taking a cue from the Chargers to have two experienced players in the face of a big task.
The start was still encouraging for the Warriors as Ganguly and Clarke unsettled Dale Steyn, hammering 17 off his second over. Ganguly fetched a four over cover at the start, before Clarke fetched three consecutive fours consisting of a flick and two cuts square on the off side. The bowler who had figures of 2 for 10 in four overs against Mumbai Indians a few nights back, ended with figures 4-0-46-0.
Ganguly took charge against the spinners and as the partnership mounted, aided by a couple of dropped catches off Ganguly’s bat – honours were even. A top edge by Clarke was spilled by Shikhar Dhawan at point, but to his luck, the batsmen risked a second run and an alert Amit Mishra gathered the ball and fired it to the wicketkeeper with Clarke a yard short of his crease.
Dhawan made amends the following over when Ganguly scooped one straight to cover. Embarrassed at falling to a part-timer, a peeved Ganguly walked back, flinging his bat and gloves as he headed to the dug-out. Robin Uthappa and Smith added 62, but their efforts could only get them close to the target. The Chargers toasted their second win, but left their coaching staff with plenty of headaches over the fielding.