Deccan Chargers took the bull in their emblem too seriously, as they came out charging to defend a modest total. They bowled with fire, they fielded aggressively, they sledged with a vengeance, and literally, almost by physical force, hustled Royal Challengers Bangalore out in a thrilling final that lived up to the occasion at the Wanderers in Johannesburg last night.
The Hyderabad side defended a modest score of 143-6, keeping Bangalore down to 137-9 in 20 overs.
The final turning point of the night was the 15th over of the chase, bowled by Andrew Symonds when he matched his verbal skills with the wickets of Ross Taylor and Virat Kohli in back-to-back deliveries. Bangalore were 99 for 6, and Taylor had looked dangerous in his 20-ball 27.
In defence of an ordinary total, Deccan came out pumped with the way they bowled.
Jacques Kallis looked to take the pressure off the 19-year-old Manish Pandey. But RP Singh removed Kallis, who tried to go for consecutive boundaries. Out came Roelof van der Merwe, who used the adrenalin to push Bangalore further towards the target.
Van der Merwe got a mouthful from Symonds and Ryan Harris, but he responded by taking two sixes off one Harris over. Even after Pragyan Ojha got Pandey with the first ball he bowled, van der Merwe’s pyrotechnics kept Deccan at a distance.
One six later adrenalin got the better of van der Merwe as he jumped out to Ojha and was stumped. Bangalore went to target Harmeet Singh, Dravid looked for a scoop shot even when the fine leg was back, and was bowled. A high-risk shot for just one run.
Taylor looked like taking Bangalore home coolly, hitting three fours and a six, until Symonds got him on the pull, with a touch of extra bounce. Adam Gilchrist pulled off a smart stumping down the leg side next ball, and it was all down to Boucher now.
Gilchrist tried to get through Harmeet’s last over, during which the youngster claimed Boucher on the cut. The bowling allocation was planned perfectly: RP had two left, and Ojha and Harris one each. Bangalore, two wickets in hand, needed 27 from the last two overs, and 14 from the last, but RP and Harris kept their cool despite a six from Robin Uthappa. A possible turning point was avoided by Harmeet, who ran in from fine leg and took a diving catch to send back Vinay Kumar. A dot ball, and a wicket, and the batsmen crossed, which meant Uthappa would be away from the start.
It was easy to not spare a thought for Anil Kumble, who spent most of the last over at the non-striker’s end and saw his dream crash. Kumble celebrated like a teenager but bowled like the veteran champion he is, and kept Deccan down to a manageable target.
He dismissed Gilchrist, then came back in the ninth to take Symonds. That wicket was crucial because he had been dropped on five by Dravid.
Kumble again came on in the 17th over to break a dangerous 52-run partnership between Rohit Sharma and Gibbs.
Playing a bizarre innings, Gibbs batted the whole 20 overs for 53, much like Sachin Tendulkar, in more trying conditions, had in the first match of the tournament. Somehow they both ended up winning.
It was a brilliant turnaround for Deccan after ending at the bottom of last year’s IPL and the defeat would hurt Bangalore, but it’s far better than their own performance in the first edition who finished just above Deccan.
DECCAN CHARGERS: 143-6 in 20 overs (Gibbs 53*, Symonds 33, Sharma 24; Kumble 4-16)
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE: 137-9 in 20 overs (Merwe 32, Taylor 27; Ojha 3-28, Symonds 2-18, Singh 2-23)
Result: Deccan Chargers won by six runs.
Man-of-the-final: Anil Kumble.
Purple Cap: Rudra Pratap Singh.
Orange Cap: Matthew Hayden.