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On Tuesday, Deccan Chargers coach Darren Lehmann was fuming after his team put down three chances en route to defeat against Rajasthan Royals. “They are professional cricketers, they should be able to catch. They should be able to stop the ball going through their legs,” he had said.
He'd have had a lot more to say after Thursday's match against Delhi Daredevils. Three more dropped catches helped Kevin Pietersen to his maiden Twenty20 century, and consigned Chargers to their fourth straight loss.
One bit of fielding from JP Duminy – arguably the finest fielder in the side and among the best in the world – in the 18th over would have irritated Lehmann as much as the fluffed catches. With three overs to go, Daredevils were clear favourites – a rampant Pietersen was in the middle, and they needed only 22. The first ball of the 18th was pummelled by Pietersen towards the long-off boundary. It was a flat and hard hit that just cleared the rope – which it wouldn't have, had Duminy been on the boundary. Instead he had come 10 yards in, and could only watch the ball fly over.
A catch there would have exposed Daredevils’ tail, and with Dale Steyn around, a come-from-behind victory was certainly possible for Chargers. Instead, the equation reduced to less than a run-a-ball and Daredevils didn’t need to take any risks against Steyn as they completed a win that took them top of the table.
Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Siddarth Ravindran
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