Deccan charges to top of log

2009-04-27 00:00

THE form team of this year’s IPL was on fire again yesterday, as the Adam Gilchrist-led Deccan Chargers cruised to a six-wicket win against the Chennai Superkings at Kingsmead.

With four straight victories, the Deccan side sit atop the IPL table, but Gilchrist for one is not getting carried away.

“I said it last time, and I will say it again. It is still early days in the competition, but it’s nice to get off to such a good start.”

The former Australian bludgeoner was central in the win, with his brutal 44 off just 19 balls laying the platform to chase down 166.

Gilchrist was quick to heap praise on his opening partner, Herschelle Gibbs, who restrained himself while “Gilly” was flaying the Superkings all over a packed Kingsmead.

“The class and composure he showed to take us home was tremendous.

“He has grown in stature within the side, and his enthusiasm is incredible.”

Gilchrist also noted a change in Gibbs’s mindset, one which he thinks will prolong the SA star’s career.

“He has asked himself some really big questions over the last year, and we are seeing a more determined and rounded individual, and that can only benefit his game,” the Chargers skipper added.

Gibbs scored an almost pedestrian 69 off 58 balls, but his presence at the death was key to the win.

Earlier, the Superkings had lost Parthiv Patel to the day’s second ball, before the red-hot Matthew Hayden linked up with Suresh Raina to get things back on track.

Hayden (49) currently leads the run chart, and he and Raina quickly added 50 inside the first five overs.

Raina fell for 25, but it was the double loss of Hayden and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni that halted the Kings’ progress to a more daunting total.

It was left to the lanky Jacob Oram to provide the late burst, and his 41 off 29 balls included two big sixes as the Superkings ended on 165/6.

Gibbs and Gilchrist, easily the most fearsome opening act in the IPL, then thrilled the Durban crowd with a searing 60 runs off four overs.

It was only the introduction of Muttiah Muralitharan that slowed the run rate, but by that stage the damage was done.

Gilchrist (44) was poised to make the quickest 50 in IPL history, but when he fell it was left to Gibbs to steer the side home.

This he did, with exemplary self-control, as the Deccan Chargers won with three balls to spare.

Gilchrist admitted that there will be tougher days ahead but, for the moment, the collective skill and energy of his side sees them as deserved front runners.

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