Deccan Chargers shine at Newlands
Adam Gilchrist rolled back the years with a dominating display with both the bat and glove as he lead the Chargers to a 24 run win over the Royal Challengers.
Twenty20 cricket may be the game of the future, but at the moment it seems to be the old hands who are dominating this year's Indian Premier League.
Sachin Tendulkar set the tone in the opening game, Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid have shown their class, while Matthew Hayden has plundered bowlers to all parts in his two innings thus far.
On Wednesday at Newlands, Deccan Chargers skipper Adam Gilchrist became the latest veteran to shine as his 45-ball 71 propelled his team to an imposing 184/6 and a convincing 24-run victory over the Bangalore Royal Challengers.
The victory, the second of the competition for Gilchrist's men, pushed the Chargers to the top of the IPL table.
Gilchrist, who retired from international cricket 12 months ago, illustrated through a flurry of boundaries last night that he remains the whirlwind force that terrorised opening bowlers the world over for the last decade.
The 37-year-old cut and pulled ferociously, and the first to feel the brunt of Gilchrist's onslaught was Praveen Kumar. The Indian opening bowler conceded three boundaries through the point region in his first over, which got the Gilchrist steam train rolling.
But Gilchrist was not in a selfish mood last night. He was ready to hand out punishment to all comers, and the next to feel the pain was Dale Steyn. The "Phalaborawa Express" has not suffered such treatment since Gilchrist's Australian teammate Phil Jaques sent him to all corners of the Docklands Stadium in a one-day international three years ago.
Steyn's second and fourth balls were too short and wide, and both were cannoned to the point boundary. The over was not finished yet though, and when Steyn pitched up one up in the slot, Gilchrist drove it powerfully straight into the
sight screen for an enormous six.
The Chargers were suddenly 27/0 after two overs, with Gilchrist's opening partner Herschelle Gibbs contributing just one to the score. The Chargers' theme song is "Go Chargers Go!" and the team in blue were truly well on their way. Gibbs (13) played a few shots of his own, but it was not to be his night as he was trapped lbw by Kumar just after clearing the boundary himself.
VVS Laxman's enjoyed a brief stay at the crease, but his dismissal only brought more misery to the Challengers as Rohit Sharma proved yet again
what a class player he is.
Sharma (52 off 30 balls, 1x4, 5x6) seems to thrive when he has an experienced partner at the other end, like he had in Gibbs on Sunday and his captain on Wednesday. Therefore with Gilchrist still firing at one end, Sharma was free to play his natural attacking game at the other end.
The pair thrilled the Newlands crowd with a blitzkrieg partnership of 61 in exactly six overs, which only ended when Gilchrist hit Challengers skipper Kevin
Pietersen (2/31) straight to cover.
If the Challengers were going to avoid slumping to their second successive defeat, Ray Jennings's team needed a solid start from openers Jesse Ryder and Robin Uthappa and a match-winning performance from either Jacques Kallis or Pietersen. Neither was achieved on the night as Ryder (0) was skittled first ball of the innings by the once again impressive West Indian fast bowler Fidel Edwards. Kallis (15) and Pietersen (11) both flattered to deceive, leaving too much for Dravid (48) and Virat Kohli (50) to chase at the end.