Sangakkara onslaught ensures 13-run win for DC

Cuttack: Skipper Kumar Sangakkara and Cameron White`s brutal hitting at the death proved to be the decisive factor as Deccan Chargers defeated Pune Warriors by 13 runs in their Indian Premier League match, here on Tuesday. Chasing a stiff target of 187, the visitors could manage 173 for five after Sangakkara (82; 52b, 10×4 2×6) and White (74; 45b, 4×4 4×6) bludgeoned the Pune bowlers to score 95 runs in the last six overs.

Sangakkara`s partnership of 157 for the third wicket with White, which is incidentally the highest third-wicket stand in the history of IPL, ensured that home team post a massive total. The key was the 18th and 19th over of the Chargers innings when Sangakkara and White took 25 runs each to consolidate their position. It was 40-year-old Pune skipper Sourav Ganguly who was clobbered for 25 runs in the 18th over which changed the complexion of the match.

In reply, the Warriors lost Manish Pandey with nothing on the board in the very first ball of the innings, but Sourav Ganguly (45 off 40) and Clarke (41 off 31) kept alive the visiting team`s chances by scoring at a brisk pace. Steven Smith top-scored for the visitors with a well-made 47 off 27 balls but his effort went in-vain. But before his arrival, it was the duo of Ganguly and Clarke that dominated the proceedings.

The two played some breathtaking shots during their 90-run stand for the second wicket but Ganguly was also guilty of playing too many dot balls which increased the pressure. One of the world`s premier fast bowlers, Steyn was hit for two successive boundaries by Ganguly on either side of the wicket but he was unusually subdued against his statemate Veer Pratap Singh whom he couldn`t hit for boundaries.

That was not all as Steyn leaked 17 runs in his next over. Ganguly launched the assault by hitting the pacer over cover in his trademark style and after that, Clarke collected three fours — one over square-leg and two through point — to put the pressure back on the Chargers.