Deccan Chargers v Bangalore Royal Challengers, IPL, Cape Town April 22, 2009

Gilchrist and Rohit shine in win

Deccan Chargers 184 for 6 (Gilchrist 71, Rohit 52) beat Bangalore Royal Challengers 160 for 8 (Kohli 50, Dravid 48, Styris 3-32, RP Singh 2-17) by 24 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

It seemed the IPL had finally found its Twenty20 soul, with two batsmen combining to score - for the first time in this tournament - at a frenetic pace throughout the innings. But chasing a huge Deccan Chargers total, a limp show from Bangalore Royal Challengers meant another wait for the first closely-fought encounter this season.

The day belonged to Adam Gilchrist and Rohit Sharma, who scored 123 between them, off 75 deliveries, with 88 of them coming in boundary hits. The target of 185, under lights at Newlands, is not an experience teams look forward to. It didn't help that for the third time in a row, Bangalore lost a wicket without having scored a run.

The difference in conditions in the two innings showed, with Deccan's bowlers managing to swing the ball in the initial overs. The first ball of the Bangalore innings, bowled by Fidel Edwards, was a fast, swinging yorker that removed Jesse Ryder for a duck in successive IPL matches.

If Edwards made an early impact, with only 31 runs coming in the Powerplay overs, Gilchrist was not far behind in Deccan's batting Powerplay. In the first two overs, bowled by Praveen Kumar and Dale Steyn, Gilchrist's clean hitting necessitated six fielding changes, and a change of angle to round the stumps from both bowlers. What was constant was Gilchrist's severity on anything erring in length. He reached 26 in the first two overs and inevitably a bowling change followed.

Praveen removed Herschelle Gibbs in his first over after changing ends, and despite VVS Laxman falling soon after, the Gilchrist show continued. From 26 off 11, he slowed down to reach 28 off 19, but then tucked into Jacques Kallis, taking him for 10 in two deliveries. That started the mid-innings assault with Gilchrist hitting clean - not one half-edge, not one unintended shot. He was especially harsh on short deliveries, and if the bowlers got too full, he teed off with similar ease. With one such six off a full Jesse Ryder delivery, in the 10th over, he reached his fifty in 31 balls.

Rohit was just warming up when Gilchrist sizzled. Once his captain got out, Rohit switched to his effortless hitting mode, which was one of the memorable sights of the last year's IPL. That Rohit paced himself well, showed in his scoring just 10 off the first 12 balls he faced, and 42 off the next 18. Anil Kumble's last over, the 13th of the innings, was the springboard for Rohit, with three sixes over midwicket - one swept flat, one lofted effortlessly, and the third a pull off a flatter, shorter delivery. Two more sixes later, Rohit perhaps fell at an inopportune time, with only 12 coming off the last 10 balls of the innings. But enough damage had been done by Rohit and Gilchrist by then.

A third poor start in a row by Bangalore meant they were always struggling against a Deccan attack that showed all the ingredients: hostility through Edwards, thrift through RP Singh (who took the purple cap with two wickets tonight), guile through Pragyan Ojha, and good support through Scott Styris. Once Ryder got out, Bangalore never really got going, and stumbled to 62 for 4 in the 11th over, with Kevin Pietersen back in the pavilion.

Rahul Dravid surprised his critics again, playing his natural shots, opposed to trying to hit too hard as he did against Chennai Super Kings. He finished with 48 off 27 balls, taking the orange cap in the process. Virat Kohli mirrored Dravid's effort, scoring a 32-ball 50, dominated by wristy shots and not one six. But from 62 for 4, with more than half the overs gone, they were fighting a lost cause.

In isolation, the innings played by Dravid and Kohli were as good as either Gilchrist's or Rohit's, with the hitting just as clean. However, isolation is not the luxury cricketers are accorded.

Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo