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Deccan struggle after Laxman departs

VVS Laxman's unusually aggressive innings set the tone for Deccan Chargers' first match of the Champions League, against Somerset Sabres.

Asked to bat by Sabres captain Justin Langer, Laxman launched an unabated attack in front of the home crowd at Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi Stadium. The opener's 46 came from just 33 balls, and put even the explosive Adam Gilchrist in the shade.

Chargers made 153-9 in all but had looked good for much more. They had raced to 86/3 in 10 overs but the run rate came to a crawl after Laxman's fall on 88.

The former Chargers captain dictated terms from the first over, when he cut Charl Willoughby for four and then followed the shot up by charging the Somerset seamer and slapping him in the air past mid-off.

Gilchrist watched the show quietly for a while, before smashing Willoughby for 17 in his second over. But he was out immediately, caught at gully by Marcus Trescothick as he miscued a pull of Alfonso Thomas.

Laxman kept the pace up and showed little intention of keeping the ball along the ground as he most often has during his long career. He hit seven fours in all before he was castled by a loopy slower one from Peter Trego.

T Suman and Andrew Symonds disappointed, making 6 and 8. Rohit Sharma made 24 and Venugopal Rao made 22 from 12 balls. Trego bowled economically, taking 2-19 in 4 overs, while Thomas finished with 2-17 in three. Pacer Ben Phillips chipped in with late wickets to finish with 3-30.

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