Deccan Chargers inflicted an upset five-wicket defeat on Rajasthan Royals knocking them out of the Indian Premier League here today.
Coming into the crunch game, Rajasthan batsmen failed miserably as they could post just a modest 126 for eight after electing to bat on a track which had turn as well as bounce.
Rajasthan needed to win today's match as well as their last league clash against Mumbai Indians on May 20 to qualify for the knock-out stage but today's defeat has pushed them out of the race.
Deccan ended Rajasthan's hopes and also snapped their five-match losing streak by overhauling the target with eight balls to spare.
Openers Akshat Reddy (42) and in-form Shikhar Dhawan (26) set the tone with a 63-run stand and then JP Duminy also scored crucial 24 runs to steer the side home but they almost made a mess of the chase by losing some quick wickets.
It looked like becoming a close match as hosts required 25 runs from as many balls and then lost Duminy when nine were required off 12 balls but Ashish Reddy (10) hit two consecutive boundaries off Tait to seal the win.
Now the the race to seal the two available spots is among four teams -- Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab. It was Deccan's third win from 15th match and first since May 1 when they had defeated Pune Warriors.
Earlier, a disciplined bowling performance on a helpful track helped the Chargers restrict Rajasthan to a modest 126 for eight.
The pitch at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium had something for both the spinners and the pacers and the hosts made full use of the opportunity to snap their five-match losing streak.
Rajasthan kept losing wickets at regular intervals and that dented their chances of putting up a good total in this must-win game.
Royals skipper Rahul Dravid top-scored for them with his 36-ball 39 with the help of five boundaries while Owais Shah made a useful 28. Ashok Menaria contributed 20.
Leg-break bowler Amit Mishra (2/20) got vicious turn from the pitch and he along with pacers Dale Steyn (2/16) and Veer Pratap Singh (2/31) took two wickets each.
Dale Steyn (right) congratulates Amit Mishra (centre) after the leggie took Stuart Binny's wicket. Pic/AFP
Rajasthan never got the desired impetus in the crunch game with their prolific scorer Ajinkya Rahane (6) failing to make a significant contribution. After being dropped by Parthiv Patel off the first ball he faced from J P Duminy, he was dismissed by Steyn, who bowled a very hostile two-over spell.
Manpreet Gony could have got two wickets in two balls but the butter-fingered fielders denied him those scalps. First, Shikhar Dhawan dropped Dravid and then a chance off Watson (13) was grassed off the very next ball. Dravid was on individual score of eight then in the fifth over.
Despite the poor fielding, Rajasthan batsmen struggled to score as they managed just 31 off the first five overs. At this point, Mishra was introduced in the attack and he cleaned up Watson with his first delivery. The leg-spinner returned and this time he castled Stuart Binny (7) to leave the visitors reeling at 61 for three at half-way mark.
There was a big responsibility on the shoulders of Dravid and Shah to steer the team to a competitive total but the skipper had to return to the dug-out when he slashed one hard off Gony only to find Chris Lynn at the rope. Runs came in through singles and doubles after that and boundaries were far and few as the visitors just about managed to play out the overs.
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