Kolkata’s iconic player – Sourav Ganguly finally played a knock worth his price in the IPL. Dada looked like a different product all together today at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal, Hyderabad. He was driving with confidence, lofting with conviction and pulling with near perfection on his road to 91. People had already written off about his value in this format of the game, but the southpaw came good to inspire a thumping 23 run-win for his team over the Deccan Chargers this evening at Hyderabad.
After winning the toss, Kolkata decided to bat first and had a very cautious start. Salman Butt opened the innings along with Aakash Chopra and the left hander didn’t last long to make way for Skipper Ganguly. The pair of Chopra and Ganguly survived a few run out chances before the former ran himself out for 24 (from 23 balls with 3 fours). Kolkata by then had got themselves a solid start with the score at 73 for 2 in the 11th over.
David Hussey joined the party after that and what was to follow was a run feast along with Dada. Ganguly was at his best in paddle sweeping and doing a risk free job until in the fourteenth over, all of the sudden he thought that his team was keeping too many wickets for too late. The urgency started to show from the batting side and young David Hussey looked a part as well and countered the irritating length of Scott Styris. Experience and expertise came handy when Ganguly put his foot on the gear and went after every bowler to make sure that Kolkata head towards a big total.
The onslaught of a combined attack from Ganguly and Hussey proved too hot to handle for all the Deccan bowlers. In the form of a mishit, Ganguly was caught at fine leg to fall nine short of a maiden T20 century. His 91 included five towering sixes and eleven fours. Nothing was going right for the Deccans as they misfielded time and again, dropped catches and missed a couple of run out chances. The all important 3rd wicket partnership was almost an epidemic for the Deccan bowlers.
The final over witnessed a 3-ball cameo from Laxmi Ratan Shukla (14*) with a bonus overthrow as a fitting end of the innings. But it will be unfair to overlook the contribution of Hussey, who was equally devastating in his well made 57 of just 29 balls (4 fours and 3 sixes). The best bowler for DC was surprisingly Venugopal Rao with his lesser known off breaks which yielded 24 in 4 overs.
To chase a score of 205 was not a joke, it was a tough ask for the Deccans. They started with much promise which was very short lasting. Gilly and Gibbs both were having the power to outplay the opposition, but it wasn’t to be. Gibbs went cheaply by gifting his wicket to a short and wide one from Ashok Dinda. Gilly then took on the mantle of playing the big hits which was brought to a quick end by Ganguly’s clever planning. Gilchrist (24 from 17 balls with 5 fours) fell in the trap of playing the pull shots and Ashok Dinda got one to hurry onto him to present a simple catch to Ganguly.
With both Gibbs and Gilchrist gone, Deccan had their hopes pinned on Rohit Sharma who announced his arrival with a first ball four. He made his intentions clear and also sent Ganguly twice out of the park. The experienced Scott Styris was now expected to bring Deccans back in the hunt along with Rohit, but the Kiwi all rounder disappointingly skied one off Ganguly to Shukla. The score reduced to 63/4 in the 9th over much to the delight of the visiting side.
Eventually the lone man fighting – Rohit Sharma had to depart as well. Rohit kept his consistency in the tournament though with a neat 24-ball 33 which had 3 fours and 2 sixes. After his fall, the writing was on the wall for yet another home defeat for the Chargers. However, there was a magic innings from Y Venugopal Rao, who realized his true potential with an unbeaten knock of 71 in just 42 balls. Venu had got 4 fours and 6 sixes, but his efforts went in vain as the Deccan Chargers fell short by quite a long way. Sourav Ganguly followed up his 91 with a tidy 4-0-25-2 with the ball to make sure that he got his second consecutive Man of the Match award.