Cuttack: If a Twenty20 match was decided on the basis of which team had done better than the other on an over-by-over basis, Pune Warriors India might have beaten Deccan Chargers. However, Deccan won the overs that mattered - specifically the five-over period from 15 to 19 in which Kumar Sangakkara and Cameron White plundered 89 runs to completely change the complexion of the match and give their team a score that was likely to be beyond Pune's batting line-up. And so it proved, with the Chargers registering a 13-run win.
Victory didn't look likely for the Chargers when, after losing Parthiv Patel off the first ball and Shikhar Dhawan soon after, Sangakkara and White pottered along to 91 for 2 after 14 overs. Sangakkara's dropping of himself in the previous match had drawn mixed reactions, and he looked scratchy in his stay at the crease until that point. That was when Sourav Ganguly made the first of his game-changing decisions, bringing Marlon Samuels on to bowl. The hard-work involved in hanging on paid off for Sangakkara, with Samuels disappearing for 19 runs in the over. Greater carnage followed after the next over, when Ganguly chose to bring himself on. His over, and the next by Ashish Nehra went for 25 runs each, with both White and Sangakkara raining fours and sixes. Sangakkara's form had returned in emphatic fashion and he scored 54 off the final 22 deliveries he faced, to end with 82 off 52. White continued his good run with 74 off 45 as Deccan ended with an imposing 186.
The start of Pune's innings mirrored Deccan's, with a wicket off the first ball. Manish Pandey was the batsman to go, having come out to open with IPL debutant Michael Clarke. The batsman to come out at No.3 for Pune was Ganguly. While Deccan had shown the value of building a platform and exploding from it, that kind of explosion is not often repeatable, and the strategy of Ganguly coming out to partner Clarke was debatable. They did share a 90-run stand, helped along by some butter-fingered catching from Deccan, but it took up 11.3 overs - a rate significantly below the required one. To compound Pune's problems, both fell within an over of each other, leaving the Warriors looking at an equation of 87 from the last seven overs. It proved too steep even with Robin Uthappa and Steven Smith hitting out. The Warriors' campaign has stalled, while Deccan retained the smallest shard of hope after their horror start to the competition.