Good friends and former captains of the Sri Lanka team, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, found themselves at the helm of opposing teams last night. The clash brought the best out of the first and his defiance with the bat inspired his side to a comprehensive 55-run win.
Sangakkara brought the Deccan Chargers out of the ruins with a battling 65, helping put 129 for seven on the board. Ishant Sharma then backed his skipper up with a five-for-12 as the Kochi Tuskers were bowled out for 74, with Jayawardene (4) being the only batsman from the top six to open his account. Overall there were seven ducks on their scorecard.
"When we were sitting in the dressing room, we were just thinking that if we can make 120-130, it will be a good score on this track," said Ishant. "There was no true bounce in the track, so if you are bowling in the right areas, I think it can be really dangerous for any batsman."
It was an impressive turnaround by the Chargers, who were struggling at the bottom of the points table and had lost their first wicket in the opening over with only three on the board. RP Singh, the highest wicket-taker in IPL, caught Sunny Sohal (1) in front of the stumps with one that came in.
Only three runs later, Raiphi Gomez ran back from mid-off to take a superb catch and send back Shikhar Dhawan (4). Singh should have had his third wicket in the same over, but Brendon McCullum dropped Bharat Chipli in the covers.
S Sreesanth then breached Sangakkara's defence and scattered his stumps off an inside edge. As the dejected Sri Lankan walked back to the dugout, he was stopped as the umpires decided to check with the third umpire for a front-foot no-ball.
Replays showed Sreesanth had overstepped by a bit and an excited Sangakkara returned, exchanging high-fives with Chipli.
Fortune seemed to be the Chargers ally at that moment, but Chipli failed to make much use of it. On three when dropped, he could score only one more and Deccan were 20 for three in the sixth over.
After 10 overs, the Chargers had only 37 for three on the board, the worst 10-over score of this season. They did a lot better on the back-10, scoring 92 for the loss of four wickets.
Sangakkara and Cameron White (31) added 90 runs for the fourth wicket before falling off consecutive Vinay Kumar deliveries in the 17th over. Their dismissal meant only 19 runs could be scored from the final three overs.
It did not matter in the end though as Dale Steyn started Kochi's rout by getting the wicket of the dangerous McCullum with the inning's third delivery. Ishant Sharma then dismissed Parthiv Patel, Gomez and Brad Hodge in the second over and the home side were four down for just two runs.
Sharma struck with his first ball of the next over and Kochi had lost their fifth wicket with only six on the board, all the batsmen dismissed for nought. With the last ball of the over, he got the prized scalp of Jayawardene and his figures read 2-0-6-5 at that moment.
* Compiled by The National staff, with agencies