There have been many riveting matches in the brief history of T20 and there will be many more. It will still take something to overdo what happened in front of a delirious Sunday crowd at the Wanderers. The match looked one-sided one moment, swung to the other side in the next and the plot changed every over until the last ball.
The term ‘anybody’s game’ has become a cliché in these days of an overdose of nerve-ticklers. Unfortunately, and for want of a better expression, there is hardly a better way of describing this game which could easily have gone either way. In the end, there had to be a winner although it’s tempting to say that both deserved to win. Kings XI Punjab won to keep alive hopes of a semi-final berth because they held their nerves better than the Deccan Chargers when the going got unbearable.
There were as many highlights in the game as the twists and turns. People in the media box were still marvelling at Kumar Sangakkara’s wonderful stumping to get rid of Andrew Symonds when Yuvraj Singh got another next ball. Few realised including Yuvraj that he had completed his second hat-trick of the competition.
It looked game, set and match for his team until Rohit Sharma decided that his heroic achievement less than 24 hours before this game was no fluke. It was yesterday once more literally as he brought down the target from 43 off 18 to four off four before Irfan Pathan out-thought him with a slower one. It was the last twist in the topsy-turvy tale.
The sluggish surface ensured that it was literally a tale of turns. The Deccan Chargers used their spinners effectively to restrict the Kings XI to a total that looked far from enough. Adam Gilchrist’s blazing start lent credence to such thoughts. The game turned with the introduction of Ramesh Powar whose off-spin fetched instant rewards.
Symonds and Herschelle Gibbs had things under control until Yuvraj’s unassuming left-arm orthodox caused another turnaround.
Kings XI Punjab
S Sohal c Sharma b Singh 9 (12b, 1x6), S Katich c Ojha b Symonds 11 (10b, 2x4), L Pomersbach run out (Gibbs/Gilchrist) 1 (2b), Y Singh b YV Rao 20 (18b, 2x4, 1x6), K Sangakkara c Harris b Singh 56 (43b, 4x4, 1x6), W Mota c Harris b Suman 12 (19b), I Pathan c Gibbs b Singh 17 (11b, 2x4), B Lee not out 0 (5b), P Chawla not out 1 (1b) Extras (b 1, w 5, nb 1) 7
Total (7 wkts; 20 overs) 134
Fall of wkts: 1-12, 2-15, 3-26, 4-52, 5-105, 6-122, 7-131
Bowling: Harris 4-0-31-0 (2w), RP Singh 4-0-26-3 (2w), Symonds 2-0-10-1 (1w), R Sharma 2-0-23-0, Suman 4-0-23-1 (1nb), Y V Rao 2-0-8-1, P Ojha 2-0-12-0
A Gilchrist st Sangakkara b Powar 23 (13b, 4x4, 1x6), H Gibbs c Chawla b Y Singh 26 (37b, 3x4), T Suman b Powar 0 (1b), A Symonds st Sangakkara b Y Singh 25 (25b, 1x4), R Sharma b Pathan 42 (26b, 3x4, 3x6), Y Venugopal Rao b Y Singh 0 (1b), DB Ravi Teja run out (Sangakkara/Lee) 10 (15b, 1x4), R Harris not out 2 (2b), RP Singh c & b Pathan 0 (2b), J Singh not out 0 (0b)
Extras (b 1, w 2, nb 2) 5
Total (8 wkts; 20 overs) 133
Fall of wkts: 1-34, 2-34, 3-73, 4-79, 5-79, 6-110, 7-131, 8-131
Bowling: Lee 4-0-31-0 (2nb), I Pathan 3-0-29-2 (1w), Sreesanth 2-0-10-0, Powar 2-0-11-2 (1w), Chawla 4-0-20-0, Y Singh 4-0-13-3, Mota 1-0-18-0