The Chennai Super Kings skipper, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, justified the decision to exclude Muttiah Muralitharan from the squad saying that in T20 cricket, picking a balanced XI was more important that playing the best XI.
The argument may hold good in most situations but on Saturday, the skipper would have liked the benefit of hindsight against the Deccan Chargers on a slow and turning VCA track.
Defending a modest 138, the Super Kings missed the services of the world's most successful spinner. Off-spinner R. Ashwin did land two quick blows after opening the bowling but the Chargers managed to scrape through to a six-wicket victory and stay alive in the competition.
The first edition's finalists now face a do-or-die battle in the remaining three games for a last-four berth.
T. Suman (55 off 44) and Andrew Symonds (27 off 22) were once again the architects of the Chargers win, adding 46 runs for the fourth wicket in 36 balls. The match looked in balance till the 14th over before Suman hit Sumit Tyagi for a six and a four in his very first over. Though Suman departed soon after completing his second consecutive half-century, Symonds completed the job.
Earlier, the Super Kings squandered a good start from M. Vijay and Matthew Hayden, who scored 40 runs in four overs. Harmeet Singh sent Hayden back and Vijay ran himself out, trying to steal a second as Harmeet took the bails off. The wicket opened up an opportunity for the Chargers to tighten the noose and Gilchrist choked the batsman with some intelligent field placement. The bowlers also responded to the skipper's call by taking the pace off their deliveries and forcing the batsmen to take more risks.