Kulkarni three-for restricts Deccan to 135

Mumnbai players celebrate a fall of wicket AFP

By Suneer Chowdhary

Mumbai: May 14, 2011

Deccan Chargers travails in this fourth edition of the Indian Premier League failed to stall as the middle-order blues returned to peg the side back to a meagre 135 for six in their 20 overs. That, by itself was an improvement over the 104 for six that the side had with 10 balls to spare.

Dhawal Kulkarni, who was picked in the Mumbai Indians side only three games ago, was the game-changer for the Mumbai Indians, when he picked up three wickets in his four over spell. What made it an excellent spell of bowling was that the wickets were that of Kumar Sangakkara, Bharat Chipli and Dan Christian, all capable of taking the game away from the opponents.

Deccan Chargers, who are already out of the contention for the playoffs in the IPL made a couple of changes to their side by getting in Michael Lumb and Anand Rajan for Dale Steyn and DB Ravi Teja. Mumbai went into the side unchanged.

However, Lumb s IPL-debut this year lasted all of two balls before Lasith Malinga s favourite delivery had the better of him; bowled of an in-swinging yorker-length ball.

The problem with the Chargers losing an early wicket was that it got the under-pressure Kumar Sangakkara early to the crease. While he did manage to get a six and a four away within the field restriction overs, it wasn t long before a rather slow run-rate got Sangakkara to play an uncharacteristic hoick that went to hands.

Sunny Sohal, who was accorded back his opening position after losing it to Ravi Teja blew hot and cold. There were a couple that hit the centre of his blade and went for sixes but off his remaining 20 deliveries he made only eight.

Deccan s issues were symptomatic of how Sohal batted. They barely got too many loose balls, which meant that their attempts to up the ante often led to a fall of a wicket.

JP Duminy made eight before being smartly stumped off Harbhajan Singh while the pressure to get the quick runs got Bharat Chipli to spoon a skier off Dhawal Kulkarni. It was 77 for five in the 15th over and Chargers found themselves in familiar territory of a fledgling middle-order batting.

There were a few pyrotechnics towards the end of the innings though, from the blade of Dhawan and to an extent, Amit Mishra. Dhawan blasted a six and a couple of boundaries in his 18-ball 27 while Mishra took four boundaries in the last over of the innings from Munaf Patel to push the score to being an above-average one.

Deccan scored 53 in the last five overs but with a batting line-up as strong as what the Mumbai Indians have, it is difficult to envisage a second collapse in as many games.

Brief Scores: DC 135 for 6 in 20 overs (Kumar Sangakkara 27, Shikhar Dhawan 27*, Sunny Sohal 20; Dhawal Kulkarni 3 for 26, Lasith Malinga 1 for 17, Kieron Pollard 1 for 10) vs MI

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(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here @suneerchowdhary)