Deccan's road to the final
Deccan, who were last season's wooden spoon holders, go into the final after crushing Delhi Daredevils in the semi-final. Their batting has centred around Adam Gilchrist and Rohit Sharma, with Andrew Symonds joining in late and chipping in with cameos. Herschelle Gibbs has been inconsistent but when he's been good, he's been really good. The wickets have been taken by RP Singh, owner of the purple cap, Pragyan Ojha, Rohit and Fidel Edwards, before he left for England. The rest of the cast lags well behind these names statistically, but bits and pieces have paid off. On the eve of the final, Cricinfo takes a look at how Deccan got there.
Match 1, v Kolkata Knight Riders, Cape Town
Deccan Chargers 104 for 2 (Gibbs 43*, Rohit 36*) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 101 (RP Singh 4-22) by eight wickets
Deccan started in style, comfortably beating Kolkata and erasing memories of a last place finish in the first season of the IPL. RP Singh and Fidel Edwards combined well to dismiss their rivals for a paltry 101. In reply, Herschelle Gibbs and Rohit Sharma knocked off the runs with ease, with Deccan romping home with almost seven overs to spare.
Match 2, v Royal Challengers Bangalore, Cape Town
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
The day belonged to Adam Gilchrist, who scored a brutal 71 runs off just 45 balls to script Deccan's second victory. Gilchrist was assisted by Rohit and the duo propelled Deccan to 184. Bangalore started badly and were in trouble at 64 for 4 in 11 overs. Virat Kohli and Rahul Dravid hit some big shots towards the end, but it proved too little too late.
Match 3, v Mumbai Indians, Durban
Deccan Chargers 168 for 9 (Gibbs 58, Bravo 3-34, Malinga 3-19) beat Mumbai Indians 156 for 7 (Duminy 47, Ojha 3-21) by 12 runs
Chasing Deccan's 168, Mumbai were comfortable placed at 84 for 1, but Pragyan Ojha turned the game around by picking 3 wickets in successive overs. Abhishek Nayar and Dwayne Bravo then tried to revive the chase, but Edwards dismissed the pair to shut out Mumbai. This was Deccan's third straight win of the tournament.
Match 4, v Chennai Super Kings, Durban
Deccan Chargers 169 for 4 (Gilchrist 44, Gibbs 69*) beat Chennai Super Kings 165 for 6 (Hayden 49, Oram 41*, Ojha 2-11) by six wickets
Gilchrist and Gibbs set up a close Deccan victory, thus proving to be one of the most destructive opening partnerships in the IPL. After Mathew Hayden and Jacob Oram helped Chennai post 169, Deccan's openers were severe on new ball bowlers L Balaji and Manpreet Gony. Gilchrist fell later to Suresh Raina after clobbering 44 runs in 19 balls, but Gibbs stayed till the end to see his team through in the final over of the match.
Match 5, v Delhi Daredevils, Centurion
Delhi Daredevils 150 for 4 (Dilshan 52*, Karthik 41, Shaoib 2-20) beat Deccan Chargers 148 for 9 (Smith 48, Nannes 2-16) by six wickets
Deccan fell to its first defeat in the tournament when a determined Tillakaraten Dilshan anchored Delhi's chase with an unbeaten fifty. Dwayne Smith gave his bowlers a chance to force a win by helping Deccan score 150, but a charged-up Dilshan finished the game with a six off Edwards in the final over.
Match 6, v Rajasthan Royals, Port Elizabeth
Rajasthan Royals 142 for 7 (Raut 36*, Carseldine 39) beat Deccan Chargers (Suman 41*) 141 for 5 by by three wickets
Deccan would have fancied their chances of a win after Rajasthan lost three wickets in the first two overs while chasing 141. But a hard-hitting innings from Yusuf Pathan and some calm batting from Abhishek Raut saw Rajasthan past the finish line. Yusuf also picked up the man of the match award, handing Deccan its second straight defeat.
Match 7, v Chennai Super Kings, East London
Chennai Super Kings 178 for 3 (Hayden 43, Dhoni 58*) beat Deccan Chargers 100 (Smith 49, Jakati 4-22) by 78 runs
A comprehensive victory for Chennai, with Dhoni coming to the party after declaring that his form (thus far) had been "pathetic". Deccan never really looked like they could chase down 178, with only an aggressive Smith riding his luck to put up a fight. After a dream start with four straight wins, Deccan now fell to its third consecutive loss.
Match 8, v Mumbai Indians, Centurion
Deccan Chargers 145 for 6 (Sharma 38) beat Mumbai Indians 126 for 8 (Duminy 52, Sharma 4-6) by 19 runs
Deccan snapped their losing streak with a 19-run victory, thanks largely to some poor shot selection from the Mumbai batsmen. This match saw an unlikely bowling hero in Rohit Sharma, who claimed a hat-trick to finish with impressive figures of 4 for 6. It was RP Singh, however, who created the initial pressure when he dismissed Sanath Jayasuriya and Sachin Tendulkar cheaply.
Match 9, v Kings XI Punjab, Kimberly
Kings XI Punjab 169 for 7 (Jayawardene 43) beat Deccan Chargers 168 for 5 (Symonds 60*) by three wickets
This game was Andrew Symonds' first appearance for Deccan in the tournament, and the Australian made an immediate impact with an unbeaten 60 with his side batting first. But he still ended on the losing side, as Mahela Jayawardene's knock of 43 set the foundation for a Punjab win.
Match 10, v Rajasthan Royals, Kimberly
Deccan Chargers 166 for 7 (Smith 47, Symonds 30, Yusuf 3-34) beat Rajasthan Royals 113 (Asnodkar 44, Rohit 3-12) by 53 runs
It was a complete mismatch at Kimberly as Deccan's overseas players proved their class against Rajasthan. While Smith and Symonds did their bit with the bat, Chaminda Vaas applied the brakes on the Rajasthan batting with figures of 2 for 19 in his four overs.
Match 11, v Delhi Daredevils, Durban
Delhi Daredevils 173 for 7 (Karthik 44*, de Villiers 44, Ojha 2-26) beat Deccan Chargers 161 (Gilchrist 64, Symonds 41, Bhatia 4-15, Sangwan 3-18) by 12 runs
Medium-pacer Rajat Bhatia starred in Delhi's victory, derailing Deccan with four wickets for four runs at a crucial phase in the match. The turning point was the dismissal of Gilchrist, outfoxed by Bhatia's slower delivery. Deccan will feel they let this game slip, losing the plot when 25 runs were required from three overs with six wickets in hand.
Match 12, v Kolkata Knight Riders, Johannesburg
Deccan Chargers 166 for 4 (Gilchrist 43) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 160 for 5 (Hodge 48, Hussey 43) by six wickets
Heartbreak for Kolkata as Rohit pulled off an unlikely Deccan victory in a match that went the distance. Deccan needed 21 runs in the final over but Mashrafe Mortaza was taken apart by Rohit who finished the match with a hook shot which cleared the boundary. If Deccan let their previous game against Delhi slip, they made up with this come-from-behind victory.
Match 13, v Kings XI Punjab, Johannesburg
Kings XI Punjab 134 for 7 (Sangakkara 56, RP Singh 3-26) beat Deccan Chargers 133 for 8 (Rohit 42, Yuvraj 3-13) by 1 run
Rohit tried to repeat his previous match heroics, this time in similar circumstances against Punjab, but he was bowled by Irfan Pathan when Deccan needed 4 runs from 3 balls. This match also saw Yuvraj Singh register his second hat-trick of the tournament, as Punjab prevailed in a low-scoring thriller.
Match 14, v Royal Challengers Bangalore, Centurion
Royal Challengers Bangalore 170 for 4 (Pandey 114*) beat Deccan Chargers 158 for 6 (Gibbs 60, Akhil 2-18, Kumble 2-23) by 12 runs
A hurricane century from 19-year old Manish Pandey blew away Deccan hopes. Pandey became the first Indian to score a century in the IPL. Deccan were left stunned by Pandey, who made full use of the opportunity to bat up the order. Despite the loss, Deccan made the semi-finals thanks to a better net run-rate than Punjab.
Semi-final, v Delhi Daredevils, Centurion
Deccan Chargers 154 for 4 (Gilchrist 85) beat Delhi Daredevils 153 for 8 (Dilshan 65, Sehwag 39, Harris 3-27) by six wickets
Gilchrist lived up to his reputation of being a big-match player, and when he was dismissed for a 35-ball 85, the game was all but over. Gilchrist hit 10 fours and 5 sixes to eliminate Delhi, a team high on confidence after finishing on top of the league standings. It was a commanding performance from Deccan, finding great form before the finals.
Ashwin Achal is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo