2nd May 2009 – St Georges Park, Port Elizabeth : The Rajasthan Royals’ batsmen held the nerves right to the end to win a thrilling contest against the Deccan Chargers at Port Elizabeth. The Royals made quite a few changes by bringing in Naman Ojha, Carseldine, Harwood and Raut for Rawat, Quiney, Mascarenhas and Valthaty. Royals again opened with Pathan but it plan did not work out too well as Pathan went for 17 in his first two. But he came back strongly to pick the wicket of Gibbs and concede only 2 runs of his next two overs. Jadeja too kept things under check with economical figures of 1/22 in his quota of 4 overs.
Shane Harwood (2/25) justified his inclusion by picking Azhar Bilakhia and later taking Dwayne Smith. Thus, the Royals’ bowlers always had an upper hand over the Chargers’ batsmen, therefore, restricting them to an achievable total of 142. Gilchrist and Sharma made useful contributions of 39 and 38, but it was Suman (41 off 30) who led the Chargers.
The Royals had a horrific start to their run chase when they were reduce to 3/3. the Royals desperately needed a partnership and found a solid 51-run one in Jadeja and Lee Carseldine. However, a double blow just prior to the timeout meant that the Royals were looking down the barrel once again. First, Jadeja held out to Smith off Venu Gopal and then Lee was given out in a shocker of a LBW decision.
Warne has been promoting himself to have a go at the bowling and today was no different. Raut and he had a quick little partnership to set the stage for the Yusuf Pathan. Warne departed, not having hit two biggies, which bought the much awaited Pathan. Pathan smashed two successive sixes off Shoaib to reduce the target to less than a run a ball. But he tried to heave one to many and got caught off RP Singh. The Royals needed 11 off the last two but had only 3 wickets in hand.
After that, the crowds witnessed some bizarre fielding from the Chargers that probably changed the course of the match. First, Rohit Sharma let one slip through to make it to the fence, which left the Royals 2 off the last over. Fidel Edwards bowled superbly but did not back it with good fielding which allowed the Royals to steal a non-existent single. Once again, the Royals sneaked another cheeky single to complete the formalities with RP Singh missing the stumps this time.
Pathan walked away with another MoM for some tight bowling and lusty hitting towards the end. However, credit must be given to Carseldine who made a fantastic 39 (32 balls, 6 fours) under pressure but was unfortunately given out. Another unsung hero was Abhishek Raut who made a brilliant 36 (23 balls, 4 fours) towards the end and guided the Royals home.
The Royals finish the first leg of the tournament with seven points, having won and lost three games and having a game washed out.