Deccan Chargers are the Indian Premier League champions after Pragyan Ojha led a spirited bowling display to help seal a six-run victory over the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Johannesburg.
Adam Gilchrist’s side, who finished last at the inaugural tournament in 2008, posted a below par 144-victory target, but scraped home thanks to the slow left armer’s three wickets as well as good performances from Andrew Symonds (two for 18) and Harmeet Singh (two for 28). Earlier, it was Anil Kumble (four for 16) who helped restrict Deccan, despite Herschelle Gibbs hitting a patient half-century in the tournament finale at the Wanderers. But Kumble failed to get the required support from his batsmen with only Roelof van der Merwe (32) and Ross Taylor (27) managing to momentarily threaten, before Bangalore fell narrowly short. After winning the toss and electing to bowl, veteran India spinner Kumble decided to himself open the bowling and it proved an inspired move. After just three deliveries, he had opposite number Adam Gilchrist, the second highest run scorer in the competition, stumped by Mark Boucher for a duck after charging down the track. Three overs later Vinay Kumar (two for 30) had Tirumalasetti Suman caught off a leading edge by Manish Pandey for 10. Symonds came in and, after being dropped by Rahul Dravid at slip early on, looked dangerous right through his 21-ball stay. He struck four fours and a massive six, before he too perished — albeit to an unfortunate bouncing delivery from Kumble that hit him on the arm and then fell onto the stumps sending him on his way for 33.
Bangalore through to final
Gilchrist puts Chargers in final
Deccan, though, managed to reach the halfway stage without any further trouble with Gibbs and Rohit Sharma adding some much needed stability. The pair continued batting together until the 17th over putting on 52 in 43 balls, before Pandey took a well-judged catch off Kumble on the boundary to see off Sharma for 24. Kumble struck another blow four balls later sending Venugopal Rao (nought) on his way, but Gibbs finished unbeaten on 53 off 48 balls to help his side reach 143 for six. Jacques Kallis and Pandey began cautiously in response taking just five runs in the first five overs, before the South African finally opened up with two boundaries off Ryan Harris’ second over. But he went for a shot too many in the next over against Singh — the IPL’s leading wicketkeeper — and dragged the ball onto his stumps for 16. Van der Merwe was sent in next and took two sixes from another Harris over, before the introduction of Ojha spelt the end of Pandey with his first delivery, the young opener feathering behind to Gilchrist for four. Ojha continued to weave his magic and the wicket of Van der Merwe, stumped by Gilchrist, left Bangalore reaching the strategy break at 69 for three. After the restart Dravid (nine) did not help their cause when he walked across the stumps and was bowled around his legs by Harmeet. Bangalore needed 65 from 50 balls at that stage, with Taylor and Virat Kohli looking in control after a 20-run stand, but Symonds stirred up a new twist when he dismissed the pair in successive balls at the start of the 15th over.
Harmeet then claimed another key man in Boucher (five), who cut straight to Gibbs at point, before Praveen Kumar (two) and Vinay (eight) fell in quick succession leaving their side needing 15 from the final over. It proved a task too big for Robin Uthappa (17 not out) and Kumble (one not out), who managed just eight. Meanwhile, England beat the touring West Indies by six wickets in their second one-day international in Bristol.