Chargers hope not to rue dropped points
In a tournament that is proving to be as close as this year's IPL, the Deccan Chargers will be hoping the two points they left out on the field at St George's Park on Saturday does not come back to haunt them when the playoff places are decided.
A mixture of a missed run out opportunities and a crucial drop catch saw Adam Gilchrist's team slump to a demoralising three-wicket defeat to the Rajasthan Royals.
The pendulum swung throughout the day, with neither team in complete control at any stage during the 39.4 overs. No more so than during the last two overs of the Royals innings. With Rajasthan requiring six off seven balls to surpass the Chargers total of 141/5, Rohit Sharma let the ball slip through his fingers on the square-leg boundary for the ball to dribble over the rope. The Royals now only needed two to win off the final over.
A mere formality? Not in this match. Royals batsmen Shane Harwood and Abishek Raut scrambled a bye off the third ball after Fidel Edwards had delivered a good bouncer to Harwood. Edwards, though, should have dismissed Harwood at the bowler's end, but failed to collect Gilchrist's throw.
There was more drama the next ball as Raut (36 not out) scrambled the winning runs with drive to mid-off. RP Singh fielded the ball well, but missed the stumps from five metres away with Raut stranded, and the Royals could celebrate their third win of the competition.
"The fielding was of a high standard, especially in the first 10 overs, but we were lacking in concentration. I thought our score was defendable, but we let ourselves down at the big moments," Gilchrist said.
Another one of those "big moments" was in the 12th over, the second after the strategy break, of the Royals innings. The Chargers had started brilliantly with the new ball, ripping through the Royals top order to reduce the defending champions to 3/3. All three batsmen were dismissed for a duck, ncluding Proteas skipper Graeme Smith.