22nd May: Sunrisers v Rajasthan Royals, 14:30 GMT
24th-28th May: 2nd Test, Headingley
Deccan Chargers 143-6 (Gibbs 53no, Kumble 4-16) beat
Royal Challengers Bangalore 137-9 (van der Merwe 32, Ojha 3-28) by six runs
Indian Premier League Final, Johannesburg
The Deccan Chargers completed a fairytale turnaround to win the 2009 Indian Premier League with a six-run win over the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Johannesburg.
The side that finished at the bottom of the table last year, and fourth this time around, posted 143 for six before restricting the Challengers to 137 for nine in a tense finale to the 59-match tournament in South Africa.
Herschelle Gibbs played the leading role with the bat before Pragyan Ojha, with three wickets, and two wickets in two balls at a crucial stage from Andrew Symonds ensured that as with both group matches between these two sides, the side batting first prevailed.
Gibbs stroked an unbeaten 53 in 48 balls with three fours and two sixes as he anchored the Deccan innings which never really got into top gear on a pitch that was playing slower than it had for yesterday's semi-final, which made quick batting tricky.
Symonds excelled again, smashing 33 in 21 balls before he pulled Anil Kumble onto his stumps. Kumble's first move had been to open the bowling himself and have Adam Gilchrist bowled with a googly for a duck but he would end up on the losing side, marooned at the non-striker's end as Robin Uthappa failed to hit the necessary boundaries as the run-rate spiralled out of control.
Rohit Sharma helped himself to a four and a six, hitting a neat and tidy 24 before Kumble hit back, finishing with four for 16, dismissing Symonds, Sharma and Yalaka Venugopal Rao (0).
Vinay Kumar, who took two for 30, including the wicket of Azhar Bilakhia for six in a superb final over, was the other bowler to get in the wickets.
The Challengers must have been confident in pursuit fo 144 and for a long while they appeared in pole position to make it. Jacques Kallis made 15 before he pulled RP Singh onto his stumps and there was to be no heroics for Manish Pandey, who made four from eight before Ojha had him caught by Gilchrist.
However, Roelof van der Merwe kept things ticking along, thumping three sixes and a four in a barnstorming innings of 32 in 21 balls to give the Challengers a much-needed boost.
His dismissal, however, sparked a mini-collapse as Rahul Dravid (9) perished, losing his leg stump to Harmeet Singh and the dangerous Ross Taylor (27) and Virat Kohli (7) were dismissed in consecutive deliveries by Symonds. Taylor holed out to Rao before Kohli was stumped by Gilchrist, a fine piece of work down the leg side.
That left the Challengers reeling and when Boucher, a man who has a long association with successful run chases at Johannesburg, steered Singh into the hands of Herschelle Gibbs for just five, the Chargers sensed victory.
With Uthappa unable to do more than one six in the penultimate over, and Praveen Kumar (2) and Vinay Kumar (8) losing their wickets, the win was sealed thanks to a nerveless final over from RP Singh.
The Challengers are left to reflect on losing a game they should have won, ruing the fact that they bowled five wides to Deccan's one, and failed to build any lasting partnerships during their chase.
That allowed the Chargers to complete their stunning turnaround from bottom of the pile to top dog in just over a year.
© Cricket World 2009