Sharma steers Chargers to vital victory
The Deccan Chargers made it four wins in a row after a 5 wicket victory over the Kings XI Punjab which keeps the defending champs in the hunt for a place in the IPL semi finals.
The Chargers got off to a bad start losing skipper Adam Gilchrist (9) in the second over after he was caught by Juan Theron off the bowling of Irfan Pathan as the Aussies recent poor form continued.
Monish Mishra and Tirumalasetti Suman responded with a wonderful partnership of 41 to put the Chargers back on top despite the loss Mishra for 20 in the 6th over.
Victory looked assured after Suman and Rohit Sharma scored 66 runs in a important 3rd wicket partnership of 66 but the loss of Suman (43) and then Andrew Symonds (4) quickly afterwards left the Chargers under pressure needing another 49 runs from just 33 balls.
If the Chargers were to stay in contention Sharma had to stay at the crease, supported by Aussie youngster Mitchell Marsh Sharma passed his half century as the tension inside the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Stadium in Dharmasala started to raise.
With three overs to go Yuvraj Singh came back into the attack, after conceding 12 runs in his first over this was a risky move and it appeared to be the game changing moment when Marsh smashed him for a six from the first ball of the over.
Yuvraj responded well when Marsh repeated the shot three balls later and Mahela Jayawardene was there on the boundary to dismiss the youngster.
Sharma remained calm after the loss of Marsh and thanks to some excellent running between the wickets with Bodapati Sumanth they got the run rate down to 1 a ball with 7 delivers remaining.
He tied the scores with a massive six from the final balls of Pathanís over before Sumanth scored the winning runs to set up a winner takes all clash against the Delhi DareDevils on Sunday with the winner guaranteeing a place in the IPL semi finals.
Having won the toss the Kings XI got off to a terrible start losing Shaun Marsh in the first over after the Aussies was caught by Adam Gilchrist behind the stumps to give Ryan Harris the early break through.
Instead on panicking after the early loss Sri Lankan batsman Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara remained calm and slowly built the foundations of a partnership which reached 86 before Sangakkara needless gave away his wicket.
Having played a patient innings which saw the Kings XI skipper record a wonderful half century Sangakkara played an ill advised reverse-sweep which caused the ball to loop up in the high to short fine leg where Pragyab Ojha took the simplest of catches.
The loss of Sangakkara left the Kings XI 87-2 with 8 overs remaining; Jayawardene was joined at the crease by Yuvraj Singh who was still looking to rediscover his form after a quiet tournament so far.
Yuvrajís poor form continued as he took 12 balls to score 6 runs while Jayawardene was in superb form at the other end smashing 5 consecutive boundaries of the bowling of RP Singh to bring up his half century.
Yuvraj finally found the boundary from the 15th ball he faced but the innings of Jayawardene allowed the pair to attack the Chargers bowlers in the last few overs scoring 76 runs from the last 5 overs to reach 174-3 which will give the defending champs a tricky run chase.