A fine four wicket haul by pacer RP Singh set up Deccan Chargers to a comprehensive eight wicket victory over Kolkata Knight Riders in their Indian Premier League campaign opener in Cape Town on Sunday.
RP Singh led a disciplined bowling attack of Deccan Chargers with figures of 4/22 to bundle out Kolkata Knight Riders for a paltry 101 in 19.4 overs after Knight Riders captain Brendon McCullum elected to bat.
Rohit Sharma and South African Herschelle Gibbs then hit sparkling unbeaten 43 and 36 respectively to hit off 104 for two in just 13.1 overs.
Captain Adam Gilchrist and VVS Laxman contributed 13 and 10 respectively as last edition’s bottom-placed team started their campaign in this season on a resounding note.
The Knight Riders,who were embroiled in a captaincy controversy for weeks before the Twenty20 tournament,were completely outplayed by their Hyderabad-based rivals in all departments of the game.
Chasing a modest 102 at 5.1 runs per over,Deccan Chargers lost Gilchrist and VVS Laxman by the fifth over but Gibbs and Rohit ensured that they start the IPL second season on a winning note by sharing an unbroken 69-run stand for the third wicket.
Gibbs resumed from where he left in the ODI series against Australia and along with Rohit denied any success to Knight Riders bowlers who unlike the Chargers’ bowlers could not extract much venom from the Newlands pitch.
Gibbs’ 26-ball 43 included five fours and a six. He also hit the winning runs by smashing a four off Moises Henriques to win the match in style.
Rohit,one of the top Chargers batsmen last year,was also fluent in his 32-ball innings of 36 which was studded with three fours and two sixes.
Ashok Dinda was the lone successful bowler for Knight Riders with the wicket of Gilchrist.
Gilchrist,who was dropped by Bard Hodge when on eight,was the first to go for 13 mistiming a pull shot of opening bowler Dinda to Henriques.
Laxman looked like he wanted to join Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid in re-inventing themselves in Twenty20 format when he clobbered Ishant Sharma for a mighty six and Dinda a four only to disappoint the crowd with a run out.
Earlier,RP Singh led a disciplined bowling effort by Deccan Chargers with four wickets to bundle out Kolkata Knight Riders for a paltry 101.
RP Singh got the swing and bounce on a Newlands pitch which was damp after rain to return figures of four for 22 from 3.4 overs to help Deccan Chargers bowl out Knight Riders in 19.4 overs.
He was well supported by Scott Styris (2/32) and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha (2/14) who chipped in with two wickets each. Opening bowler Fidel Edwards bowled with a lot of pace and accuracy and conceded just six runs from his allotted four overs though without success.
Australian Brad Hodge top-scored with 31 for Knight Riders while three other batsmen – Chris Gayle (10),Aakash Chopra (11) and Murali Kartik (not out 10) — could reach double figures.
Electing to bat,KKR had a disastrous start with their openers captain Brendon McCullum and Gayle returning to the hut by the fourth over with just 12 runs on the board,both victims of RP Singh. From there on they never recovered.
McCullum had a faint touch of RP Singh’s first ball of the innings by his glove and was caught by his opposite number Adam Gilchrist behind the wicket for just one.
Two overs later,RP Singh was given a special treatment by Gayle by hitting a four and a six from two consecutive balls but the Uttar Pradesh pacer had the last laugh by claiming the West Indies skipper who was holed out to Harmeet Singh at long off for 10.
One down Sourav Ganguly was expected to let the willow speak following all that captaincy controversy but the former India skipper’s vigil at the crease lasted just 12 balls and yielded just one run before perishing on 16 for three.
Deccan bowlers tied down the strong KKR batting line-up to just 31 runs at the halfway mark for three wickets.
Akash Chopra,who was dropped by Gilchrist early in his innings,could add 11 individual runs before becoming left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha’s first victim. Laxmi Ratan Shukla (8) became Ojha’s second victim perishing in an identical manner as Chopra,stumped by Gilchrist.
Hodge fell while trying to slash a Scott Styris rising delivery only to be plucked brilliantly by Herschelle Gibbs. The Australian’s 31 from 34 balls included only four fours.
Hodge’s fellow Australian Moises Henriques (6) fell two balls later,this time Rohit Sharma holding a brilliant catch to give two wickets to Styris in the 16th over.
Rohit Sharma had a ball on the field running out Agarkar for seven to leave Knight Riders on 81 for eight before RP Singh polished off the tail — Ashok Dinda (2) and Ishant Sharma (9) in the last over.