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Return of the old warrior

cricket Updated: May 11, 2011 02:08 IST
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Hindustan Times
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Just before the Deccan Chargers openers walked in to bat, their cheergirls entered the Rajiv Gandhi stadium with a multiple somersault routine to charge up the atmosphere for the struggling hosts. That was the only action the girls had for the entire game as the 2009 Indian Premier League champions ended their home assignments with a fifth consecutive loss.

The failure of Kumar Sangakkara’s team to string together a performance befitting the talent pool they had at their disposal would have particularly left their fans high and dry. The hosts again flattered to deceive after a confident start and Pune Warriors India had little trouble in racing to their second consecutive victory with six wickets in hand and 10 balls to spare.

The Chargers hit five boundaries and two sixes in their first six overs and managed just six more boundaries in the remaining 14. In fact, Warriors openers Jesse Ryder (35) and Manish Pandey (49) hit 11 boundaries and four sixes among themselves to end any chance of a fightback. Chargers did hit back with a few quick wickets in the middle overs but it was too little too late. Sourav Ganguly, finally back to playing in the IPL, was 32 not out.

Solid start
There were no demons in the wicket and Shikhar Dhawan (24) and Ravi Teja (30) had little trouble in putting away the loose balls. Dhawan even welcomed Pune Warrriors' two best bowlers — Sharma and Wayne Parnell — by hitting them for a six each in their opening over.

But it was all downhill from there on with the spin combination of Yuvraj Singh and Rahul Sharma applying the brakes and Mitchell Marsh proving his worth with his medium-pace, claiming a four-wicket haul. Yuvraj foxed Dhawan with a slow, looping delivery and the batsman, who had charged out, only managed to sky the ball to Jesse Ryder at covers.

Sharma and Yuvraj then squeezed the flow of runs by cutting down the pace of their deliveries on a wicket that offered very little spin. Yuvraj conceded just 17 runs in his four overs and Sharma, who went for 10 in his first over, gave away just 14 in the next three. Local tunes

Marsh attacks
That set the stage for Marsh to come to the party. With the spinners difficult to get away, the Chargers batsmen looked to attack the 19-year-old medium pacer, son of Pune coach and former Aussie opener Geoff Marsh, and perished in the bargain.

First Ravi Teja dragged one back onto the stumps to end his cameo and JP Duminy, Sunny Sohal and Amit Mishra then succumbed to his guile in the penultimate over of the innings.