The collapse was so dramatic that even the Deccan Chargers’ fans wouldn’t have known what hit them. Three players — skipper Adam Gilchrist, Herschelle Gibbs and VVS Laxman — known for their resilience and batting acumen were back in the dugout in a matter of minutes without even opening their account.
With the top order perishing in a jiffy, it was only a matter of time before the table leaders lost to Chennai Super Kings by a huge margin at the Buffalo Park here on Monday.
<b1>Tall South African pace bowler Albie Morkel was the wrecker-in-chief, gobbling up Gilchrist off the first ball of the innings and then snaring VVS Laxman in the third over. Then, slow left-arm orthodox bowler, Shadab Jakati (4 for 22) conjured up magic to crush the Hyderabad team by 78 runs.
Earlier, former Australia sledgehammer Matthew Hayden continued to rule the run-charts, coming up with another commanding performance to guide the Super Kings to an imposing 178 for 3.
Not to be outdone on Monday, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni --- who has been struggling --- also came up with a blazing half-century as the last edition’s runners-up put up their third highest score in the tournament so far.
The burly, 37-year-old Australian opener slammed a 26-ball 43 and shared a 61-run opening partnership with Murali Vijay before sending a top edge into the hands of R.P. Singh at short third man.
In walked Dhoni and along with Vijay went about their task in a cool and calculated manner.
But with Dhoni having the destructive Suresh Raina for company, things could only look better.
After his 19-ball cameo that fetched 32 runs, Raina departed but Dhoni continued till the end to give the Super Kings more than just hope of winning the match against the table toppers.