Rusty Deccan crash out
Adam Gilchrist's maiden half-century at Deccan Chargers' home ground could not give his side the victory needed to take them into the second round of the Champions League. The Deccan players will now disperse to rejoin their various domestic and national sides, reassembling next to defend their IPL title in 2010. Is it really a surprise, therefore, that an IPL team was eliminated from the tournament by a less fancied team from Trinidad & Tobago?
Deccan's elimination, and the first-match defeats suffered by the other two IPL teams, perhaps adds credence to a point raised by Ray Jennings, the Royal Challengers Bangalore coach, before the Champions League began. Jennings had said the IPL teams, because they get together for barely two months a year, would struggle against opponents who train together constantly in their respective countries. Gilchrist partly agreed after the three-run defeat to T&T. "The teams that are showing the greatest balance are the favourites," he said. "The T&T side are bubbly, are all together and you can see the energy they have got.
"It was very frustrating," Gilchrist said. "We weren't able to do that today to the levels in the previous games. By that I mean no balls, wides, mis-fields. We made simple mistakes with the bat like run outs and couple of our shot selections needed to be questioned."
With Gilchrist tearing into the bowling during a 31-ball half-century, defending 149 was not going to be easy for T&T despite having three spinners on a track which kept a little lower than usual. But once the former Australian opener's outstanding innings was ended by Kieron Pollard, who ran to his left to take a diving catch at deep midwicket, the momentum swung T&T's way. Daren Ganga rotated his bowlers, shuffled his fields and everyone spurred each other on in the middle.
T&T were aided by batsmen losing their way, as the chase approached its finish. Symonds had already been run out following a mix-up with Gilchrist and, after the captain fell, Rohit Sharma played a loose square drive straight to point. His dismissal added pressure on an inexperienced lower order.
Earlier in the match, RP Singh had bowled like a rookie in his first two overs, conceding 18 runs and bowling a hat-trick of front-foot no-balls that resulted in free-hits. He was one of Deccan's senior bowlers but failed to draw on his experience. Dwayne Bravo did not make the same mistake for T&T.
Deccan needed only eight off the final over, but Ganga had held Bravo back for this very situation. Bravo delivered six excellent deliveries, denying the batsmen length and room, and conceded only four runs. "Today we had to analyse the situation a number of times as they were getting a lot closer especially when Gilchrist and Rohit were at the crease," Bravo said. "The last five overs were really tight and our focus was on hitting the block hole." T&T were the hungrier side on the day and they adapted quickly, unlike Hyderabad, who stuttered with ball and bat at pivotal moments.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo