RP Singh fires Deccan Chargers to easy victory

Rudra Pratap Singh took four for 22 as Deccan Chargers crushed Kolkata Knight Riders by eight wickets in the fourth match of the Indian Premier League in Cape Town, on Sunday.

Singh took full advantage of the bowler-friendly conditions at Newlands to help bowl out Kolkata for a lowly 101 in 19.4 overs. In reply, Gibbs top-scored with 43 from 26 deliveries and Rohit Sharma smashed 36 not out as Deccan cruised to the victory target in just 13.2 overs.

The two batsmen were involved in an unbroken stand of 69 for the third wicket as Deccan looked in complete control despite losing two early wickets. Adam Gilchrist fell for 13 when he was caught attempting a pull shot off Ashok Dinda, while VVS Laxman was run out for 10.

Earlier, Brendon McCullum’s debut as Kolkata Knight Riders captain got off to the worst possible start as his batsmen came undone on a pitch that offered the bowlers some assistance.

Electing to bat, Kolkata were made to rue their decision as captain McCullum was caught down the leg side off RP Singh for 1 as early as the second over of the innings.

Chris Gayle got Kolkata’s first boundary and his first runs after facing 12 deliveries when he hit Singh through the off-side in the fourth over followed by a huge six over midwicket.

But Singh has his revenge off the very next delivery as Gayle tried a similar shot but got a leading edge which was caught by Harmeet Singh at long off for 10.

21-year-old Punjab fast bowler Harmeet then ended Sourav Ganguly’s misery when he got him caught behind for 1, that took him 12 deliveries.

West Indies pacer Fidel Edwards was virtually unplayable in his first spell as he resorted to fast short deliveries directed at the batsmen’s body. His first spell of three overs went for just three overs and included a maiden.

The first ten overs saw Kolkata hit just three boundaries and a six as they crawled to 31 for 3 before Pragyan Ojha compounded their woes further.

Ojha deceived Akash Chopra (11) and Laxmi Ratan Shukla (8) with flighted deliveries to have them stumped leaving Kolkata reeling at 48 for five in the 13th over.

Australian Brad Hodge top-scored with 31 (4 boundaries) before Herschelle Gibbs pulled of a brilliant catch at backward point off Scott Styris. The Kiwi all-rounder then bagged his second wicket of the over when Rohit Sharma pulled off a low catch at cover to send back Moises Henriques for 6.

Rohit then produced another piece of magic on the field when he produced a full length dive at cover and ran out Ajit Agarkar (7) with a direct hit at the non-strikers end.

Singh polished off the tail by claiming the wickets of Ishant Sharma (9) and Ashok Dinda (2) in the final over to bowl out Kolkata for 101 in 19.4 overs.

The left-arm pacer was the top performer for Deccan with the ball as he claimed four for 22 in 3.4 overs. Edwards bowled his four overs, giving away six runs, including two maidens. Ojha (2 for 14) and Stryis (2 for 32) also made vital contributions, while Harmeet also gave excellent support with one for 23 in four overs.

Deccan Chargers captain Gilchrist tried to take on the bowlers despite the low target but made only 13 before he holed out against Ashok Dinda. The former Aussie wicketkeeper, who was dropped on 9, attempted a pull shot but didn’t get it off the middle offering the square leg fielder a simple catch.

VVS Laxman got off the mark with a huge six over square leg off Ishant Sharma in the fourth over. However, he lost his wicket for 10 to an unnecessary run out after a misunderstanding with Herschelle Gibbs.

Kolkata were trying to keep Gibbs and Rohit Sharma quiet with some tight bowling but Ajit Agarkar gave it all away with 17 runs in his first over. Rohit Sharma took a fancy to his Mumbai team mate Ajit Agarkar as he smashed him for a straight six followed by two boundaries as Deccan reached 69 for two in 10 overs.

Both Gibbs and Sharma never seemed in any trouble and took on the bowlers at will. Gibbs launched Gayle for a big six over midwicket to bring up the 50-run partnership as Deccan made a rush for the target towards the end.

While Ojha cast a web around the Kolkata batsmen with his left-arm spinner, Murali Kartik looked totally ineffective. The introduction of part-timer Chris Gayle made little difference as Gibbs carted him for a six and boundary in his first over.

The South African opener finished off things in style when smashed Henriques over the covers for a boundary. Gibbs finished unbeaten on 43 from 26 deliveries with five boundaries and a six, while Sharma was not out on 36 from 32 deliveries, inclusive of three boundaries and two sixes.

The two batsmen were involved in an unbroken stand of 69 runs as Deccan coasted to 104 for two in 13.2 overs to win by eight wickets.

Deccan Chargers finished bottom last season but if they dish out performances like today then one can be sure they can definitely go a long way. Kolkata Knight Riders have a lot of soul searching to do especially with their batting else things won’t get easy for McCullum and coach John Buchanan.

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