Despite Deccan Chargers’ fourth successive loss in the third edition of the Indian Premier League, to Mumbai Indians at the Brabourne Stadium on Saturday, a Hyderabad cricket follower will be as pleased as his Mumbai counterparts.
Not only because of yet another impressive spell by Chargers’ left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha but also because of the match-winning knock for the Indians by stylish Ambati Rayudu. It’s been almost a decade since Rayudu emerged on the national stage. Ever since he made his mark in the under-19 circuit in the early days of the 21st century, the Hyderabadi was expected to join the club of stylish great batsmen from the City of Nizams. But, Rayudu failed to carry on in the same vein. Then, he also did not receive fair treatment from his home association and some of the teammates.
Naturally, when the Indian Cricket League came calling, Rayudu joined the exodus of domestic cricketers to get his two minutes of fame on television, and obviously a bagful of money. And when it came to an IPL call-up, his home team again disappointed him by keeping him waiting for too long. So when Mumbai Indians approached him he signed the dotted line without a second thought.
No wonder that when it came to bailing his team against the one from his hometown, Rayudu stood up. He exhibited all the strokes from his arsenal to stabilise the innings with Saurabh Tiwary after a mini-collapse. And then, in the death overs, he showed he could find the gaps at will to help Mumbai Indians post 178 for five.
And once Kieron Pollard made his biggest contribution with the ball in the middle of the Chargers’ innings, it was clear that Rayudu’s effort wasn’t going to be wasted.
Rayudu’s scintillating display had not only ensured his team their fourth victory on the trot but also helped it put one foot into the semifinals.