More spills than thrills
Where they finished
Second from bottom. A second successive season of disappointment ended with four wins and 11 defeats. Deccan Chargers were one of the tournament's two whipping boys, languishing at the bottom for most part.
From an Indian perspective, it was pleasing to see an Indian batsman top the run charts. Shikhar Dhawan finished with 569 runs with five fifties and was second behind Chris Gayle (733) in the tournament standings at the end of the league phase. Chargers have depended on him for strong starts, though they could have fared better had he received more support from his more experienced colleagues. It was a continuation of his good form the previous season, when he scored 400 runs. Dhawan has been on the fringes of national selection and his performance this season should nudge the national selectors when they pick the side for the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
Ashish Reddy, the Hyderabad seamer, was identified by the coach Darren Lehmann as one of the promising newcomers to watch. Reddy finished with 11 wickets and was the third-highest wicket-taker for Chargers. Pace may not be Reddy's forte, but he made up for it with his military medium pace and legcutters which made him difficult to get away on slower pitches.
Parthiv Patel was their most expensive buy at the auction ($650,000), but the wicketkeeper-batsman failed to live up to his billing. He managed only 194 runs in 13 innings with no half-centuries, despite opening the batting on six occasions.
In a season with few happy memories, their final league game against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Hyderabad saved them the embarrassment of finishing last. Royal Challengers needed to win to progress to the playoffs, but Chargers launched a spirited fightback, led by a pumped-up Dale Steyn who delivered the spell of the season, to defend a modest 132 against a powerful top order. The win meant that Pune Warriors were the wooden-spoon holders of the season.
The start of the tournament. It took seven games for Chargers to record their first win. It included five consecutive defeats and a washed-out game, which gave them their first points. From then, it was always going to be difficult to bounce back. Their biggest embarrassment was the fielding, which botched their chances of closing out games. It was routine to see a helpless Lehmann appear at press conferences blaming the defeats on schoolboy errors in the field. On one occasion, he said his team fielded like an Under-14 side. Chargers had Trevor Penney, a sought-after fielding coach, on their coaching staff, but it didn't have the desired impact.
Chargers' performance wasn't terribly surprising considering they started the tournament as underdogs. Four of their first five games went into the last over, including Mumbai Indian's freakish last-ball finish. Against Rajasthan Royals, they failed to defend 196. The loss of points from those games derailed them early.
Besides Dhawan, none of the Indians made a significant impact. Steyn was deadly in conditions that suited him and his spells were among the fastest seen on Indian pitches. Sangakkara struggled for consistency, and ended up drop himself for several matches.
Looking ahead, Chargers will have to rethink their squad. It wouldn't be a bad idea to negotiate with other franchises and invest in a few quality Indian players who've had few opportunities. A quality bowler to support Steyn will be handy.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo