Rohit Sharma avoided a repeat of the choke against Rajasthan Royals to help Deccan Chargers bite another bullet on their route to a fourth win in a row that has given them an even chance in the semi-final race. Deccan's bowlers did plenty to lose this one, but a graceful yet lethal 68 from 38 from Rohit took them home. Apart from the falling wickets, Rohit had a small matter of making up for another ordinary finish by their bowlers: 76 runs off the last five overs, during which time Mahela Jayawardene scored 57 off 18.
Kings XI Punjab were 98 after 15 overs, Deccan reached 98 in 11. Deccan generally bowled tripe in the last five to reconfirm their reputation of being worst at the death, and their batsmen kept getting out regularly to bowling that was not extraordinary. That they reached 98 in 11 overs was thanks to some clean golf-like swinging from T Suman, and Rohit who swung the momentum Deccan's way.
It was a dry surface covered in grass from good-length area on one end to just back of a length on the other. Anything pitched in the grassy areas got extra bounce and seam movement. Punjab's inexperienced attack took advantage of that, but every time they pitched up Suman effortlessly lofted them out of the ground. When Suman did get out in the 14th over, with 55 required off 41, Deccan were the favourites.
Especially with Rohit who had reached 40 off 22, without having moved a bone in a hurried fashion. In the next over, though, Andrew Symonds went to manufacture a cut shot against Juan Theorn and was bowled. Two tight overs followed, and Deccan were in familiar territory: 29 runs from 18 balls, Rohit in the middle and the Rajasthan choke fresh in everyone's memory.
With 19 required off the last two, Rohit added grit to the grace, converting two one-and-a-halfs into twos in the 19th over, then picking an Irfan Pathan slower one over wide long-on for four. With seven required off seven, Rohit teased again, mis-hit another loft into the same area, Piyush Chawla ran across from long-on, didn't cut the angle, and had to dive both back and to the right. The valiant dive resulted in his getting a hand onto it, and a parried six. Game over.