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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ishant Sharma, Steyn destroy Kochi

This wasn't the scoring sequence from an over, but the runs made by Kochi Tuskers' top six batsmen as they crumbled to 11-6 chasing Deccan Chargers' 129-7. At the end of this extraordinary ordeal, Kochi were bowled out for 74, helping Deccan vacate the last spot on the points table for Delhi Daredevils.

Ishant Sharma has had an embarrassingly poor IPL record of 27 wickets in 36 matches. He had never taken more than two in a game. After Dale Steyn dismissed Brendon McCullum in the first over of the chase, Ishant set that record right.

Parthiv Patel fished at one outside the off-stump, resulting in an easy catch for skipper Kumar Sangakkara. Then two identical in-cutters stayed low and crashed into the stumps sending back Raiphi Gomez and Brad Hodge. At the end of two overs, the score read 2-4 and both runs were extras.

In his next over, another in-cutting delivery hit Kedar Jadhav in front of the stumps. 5-6. Mahela Jayawardene, the only batsman so far to get off the mark, then got the delivery of the day. Pitched just outside off, the ball kicked up and kissed Jayawardene's glove on its way to Sangakkara.
11-6. Game over. Ishant had five. And this was just the fourth over.

The wicket at the Nehru Stadium had grass. The bounce was uneven and Deccan's new ball pair exploited the wicket beautifully.

Steyn swung the ball out at exaggerated angles as McCullum played and missed three times in the first over. On the fourth occasion, he edged it to Sangakkara. He returned to clean up the Kochi tail, finishing with 3-16.
Ishant exploited spots short of driving length outside the off-stump and the up-and-down pitch did the rest by spooking Kochi's batsmen.

This put into perspective how valuable Sangakkara's 65 was after Deccan were asked to bat. The Deccan captain added 90 with Cameron White (31) after they had slipped to 20-3 in the sixth over. R Vinay Kumar took 3-25 to dismiss both, and Kochi had what seemed like a relatively easy chase. A huge shock awaited them.

Now only if Deccan would start winning at home again.
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