The Orange City was on fire on Monday with the mercury touching a three-decade high of 44 degrees Celsius. The conditions did ease out by the time the Deccan Chargers and Royal Challengers Bangalore faced off at the VCA Stadium, Jamtha, but it only ensured that there was no drop in intensity on the field.
With the semifinal hopes of both teams hanging in balance, fans defied the heat to throng the stadium and the decibel level was at a maximum when the umpires called play.
South Africa speedster Dale Steyn set the tone with a fiery opening spell in which he sent back three top batsmen and almost had Rohit Sharma edge one to slips before the hosts staged a recovery.
Sharma and Mohnish Mishra added 82 runs for the fourth wicket and helped the Chargers reach 151 from their allotted 20 overs. The defending champions showed the tenacity to hang on and scripted their third consecutive win. The Chargers looked like fighting for a lost cause till the 11th over with Kallis and Dravid in control. But Dravid holed one to T Suman at long off and just like their last encounter in Bangalore last week, the Challengers wilted under pressure.
Aware that the big boundaries would make playing big shots difficult, Chargers’ captain Adam Gilchrist squeezed the run flow after Dravid’s departure and the ploy worked.
Needing 56 from the last six overs with seven wickets in hand, the Royal Challengers lost wickets at regular interval. Only Robin Uthappa (34 off 20 balls) kept hopes alive with some big hitting but Harmeet Singh bowled him in the penultimate over to end the resistance. The visitors fell short by 13 runs.
Earlier, Steyn’s opening spell put the visitors on top. He sent back Gilchrist and T Suman off successive deliveries.